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Labour Calls For "Those With The Broadest Shoulders” To Foot Social Care Bill

3 min read

Shadow social care minister Liz Kendall has criticised government proposals to reform social care as “not a plan but a tax rise” and suggested the cost should be shared with wealthier taxpayers.

Kendall told Sky News that instead of leaving young people and low-income workers to foot the bill, “those with the broadest shoulders” should cover the cost of care reforms.

The government is set to announce a National Insurance rise of 1.25% to fund social care in Britain as early as today. National Insurance is not paid by anybody over pension age, meaning even the wealthiest pensioners would not contribute to the social care levy in this way.

An £80,000 cap on individuals’ lifetime contributions to care is also expected to be announced, despite the Dilnot Commission 10 years ago recommending costs be limited to £35,000.

“Ensuring people don’t see their life savings wiped out is really important, but a cap on care costs will only benefit around 3-5% of the total number of people who use social care,” Kendall told Sky News’ Kay Burley.

“It won’t do anything to improve training of staff… it won’t help families who are struggling to care for their loved ones and it won’t do anything for working age people with disabilities, who are a third of the users of social care and make up half of the budget.”

But Kendall did not appear to know what Labour's alternative proposal would look like. 

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, Kendall said details of a Labour care plan would be finalised "before the next general election when we know what the economic conditions are".

"But I have argued for over a decade now that we have to be fair across the incomes and the generations," she added. 

Kendall doubled down on her of the expected Tory proposals. “This is doing nothing for working age adults with disabilities," she continued.

"It’s nothing about enabling people to live the life they choose and have an equal life with others.

"Unless the government has a 10 year programme for investment and reform together, we’re not going to get this right.”

The National Insurance would see the Conservative party break a its 2019 manifesto pledge that “we will not raise the rate of income tax, VAT or national insurance”.

Conservative MPs, ministers, former chancellors and aides, alongside the Labour Party and trade unions, are among those to vehemently oppose the plans.

Jake Berry, Chairman of the Tory Northern Research Group told Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning that it’s “not right” low paid people in his Lancashire constituency should pay more tax to assist those in wealthier areas of Britain “keep hold of their homes”.

It remains unclear how the expected £10 billion raised annually from a National Insurance hike will be spent, with the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg tweeting last night that ministers are still debating details.

In an interview with the Mirror, Labour leader Keir Starmer confirmed he is opposed to raising National Insurance in order to reform social care.  

But Starmer too was unable to explain how Labour would tackle the long-standing issue of social care costs. He said a comprehensive plan for care from his party will only be announced in the period prior to a general election.

However, he did not rule out raising Capital Gains tax as part of any Labour plan.

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