Fri, 19 July 2024

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By Ben Guerin
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Care Minister Says Money Raised From Social Care Levy Will Not Pay For Wage Increases

3 min read

Care minister Helen Whately has confirmed that funds raised from the government’s new health and social care levy will not be put towards a pay raise for staff in the sector.

Speaking on LBC this morning, Whately said a pay raise for care workers “is not included in what we voted through yesterday”, however £500 million of new funds raised through the tax hike will contribute to “opportunities to train and for career progression”.

“The staff are what make social care, they are social care and clearly have done such an amazing job in the pandemic,” Whately told LBC’s Nick Ferrari.

“The question of pay for staff is a separate one. For instance, the amount that local authorities pay to social care providers who then onward set the pay for their staff – that’s included in the funding the local authorities raise for social care directly,” the minister added.

“(A pay raise) is not included in what we voted through yesterday. What we voted through yesterday was a new funding stream for health and social care, particularly knowing that for decades governments have talked about the crisis in social care but have not been able to get anything over the line to actually tackle this.”

Yesterday, The Telegraph reported that NHS employers will be exempt from next year's National Insurance rise, but those working in the care sector will still have to pay it. 

Late on Wednesday MPs in the Commons passed a motion supporting Boris Johnson’s controversial plan to hike national insurance to fund social care by a majority of 71 votes.

The new plan, announced on Tuesday, will see the UK’s social care system overhauled, with changes being funded through a new tax of 1.25% to raise an extra £36billion over the next three years.

From April next year every person in work will pay the additional amount on their National Insurance contributions, and then from 2023 it will be a separate levy to fund care as well as help tackle the NHS backlog.

Five Tory MPs rebelled against the three-line whip to vote against the non-binding motion yesterday, including former Cabinet minister Esther McVey.

A further 37 Tory MPs abstained from voting all together, including Northern Research Group Chair Jake Berry and Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Tom Tugendhat.

Speaking on LBC this morning, Whately also refused to rule out that some people will still have to sell off major assets in order to pay for care, despite the government introducing an £86,000 cap on the amount any individual will have to contribute to care services in their lifetime.

“The £86,000 firstly gives people a peace of mind that they won’t have to spend more than that. Secondly, it enables people to be able to plan how, if they were to hit that cap, how they might be able to fund it,” Whately said.

“It’s the case now and it will continue to be the case in the means testing for social care, your house isn’t included in that if you or your partner is living in it.”

When asked by Ferrari, Whately did not deny that a social care service user’s home could need to be sold off after they pass away in order to offset the costs incurred

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