Social care breakthrough: Boris Johnson backs new tax to resolve crisis after warning

Care homes have a 'legal duty of care' says nurse

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The Prime Minister is said to be “comfortable with some sort of tax” as part of a plan to ease the burden on families an fund universal social care, according to a Downing Street source quoted in The Times. His plan could be agreed within weeks and may include a cap on the amount people have to pay towards their own care.

Additional money is also likely to boost wages for social care workers as well as ensure more people can access the help they need.

Downing Street did not deny the reports.

A No 10 spokesman said: “I’m not going to start commenting on speculation.

“No decisions have been made and we will set out the details later this year.”

Sir Andrew Dilnot, who conducted a review of social care in 2011, suggested a social care cap of about £50,000.

But reports suggest the Treasury favours a higher limit, to minimise costs to the taxpayer.

Last week Sir Andrew warned the Prime Minister he should stay true to his word and “act on his promise” of reform.

The former economist, who now works as warden of Nuffield College, Oxford, said: “Fixing social care is no luxury and it’s long overdue.”

He pointed to the battering the sector took after the Covid pandemic took hold last March.

He added: “The distressing scenes we saw through the pandemic of the struggles of the social care sector have just underlined the need for action.

“The way people are looked after when they are at their most needy is a good measure of the strength of a society and right now, we don’t measure up well in England.

“It’s hugely encouraging that the Prime Minister has said we will ‘fix social care’.

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“Now is the time to act on that promise.”

Whitehall staff are working hard to finalise a deal on social care reforms.

Mr Johnson has privately suggested to senior civil servants that a solution is imminent.

Yesterday he said the Government’s reform plan would be published “before too long”.

The Times reported that an announcement on the plan could be made next week when Mr Johnson’s celebrates his second anniversary of becoming Prime Minister.

After succeeding Theresa May, he vowed to “fix the crisis” and make it one of his first actions after entering Number 10.

He said at the time: “My job is to protect you, or your parents, or grandparents, from the fear of having to sell your home to pay for the costs of care.

“We will fix the crisis in social care once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared to give every older person the dignity and security they deserve”.

David Cameron, the former prime minister, had promised to introduce a cap on the cost of care of £72,500.

This was supposed to come into effect in April 2016.

But in 2015 the Government pushed this back to 2020, because it would have added £6bn to public sector spending at a “time of consolidation”.

Before the pandemic set in last year, ministers had been considering a personal cap on care costs.

But details were not agreed and reforms were postponed as the country was hit by a massive wave of Covid infections and millions adjusted to lockdowns.

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