When is a promise not a promise? When it comes from Boris Johnson! Two of his promises have just collided. On 13th December 2019, he stood outside Downing St and promised to fix social care once and for all. He said his priority would be to crack on with it in his first 100 days. He also promised not to raise Income Tax, VAT or National Insurance. Now we know he’ll break his word on National Insurance.
No one doubts the need to improve social care especially following big reductions in funding between 2010 and 2019. People shouldn’t have to wait ages for assessments or be forced to settle for inadequate care. It’s that lack of support that leads to falls and other difficulties resulting in hospitalisation. There’s also the issue of care homes for those no longer able to live by themselves. We saw during the pandemic just how much we expect of care workers and how poor their wages are.
We need a plan for social care to make it fit for the 21st century. Half-baked attempts at a quick fix just won’t do but despite the promises, there isn’t any real plan other than squeezing more money out of young people and those on low incomes. They’re being asked to foot the bill for those who live in large houses. Many think increasing National Insurance is a mistake and argue, when it comes to funding, we’ve got to consider different options including Capital Gains Tax (CGT). The best idea I’ve seen is from the Association of Accounting Technicians who suggest reducing CGT on houses to make it easier for people to sell properties but increasing it on items like the sale of shares, art and coin collections and other high value assets. That would increase the money available for social care.
What’s clear is that we need a real plan to improve the provision and overall quality of social care, the plan Boris Johnson promised, and we need it to be properly and fairly funded. It’s time this Prime Minister started making good on his promises.