Call for cross-party commission on care funding
A think tank has released a new report urging a rise in income tax to pay for social care.
In The Cost of Caring: Getting Serious About Funding and Improving Social Care in Scotland, Reform Scotland calls for a cross-party commission to develop a sustainable social insurance model to pay for care.
It argues for a temporary 1p rise in Income Tax to start implementing the recommendations set out in the Feeley review, but says that in the longer term it is unsustainable for a proportionately reducing workforce to pay for an ageing population.
The paper also calls for a widespread public awareness campaign so that voters better understand how social care is currently paid for and what rights they have if, and when, they may need to access care themselves.
Reform Scotland research director, Alison Payne, said: “People face significant challenges in accessing social care and too often cost can be a barrier - there is an unknown number of people paying for their own support as well as people who may need it but are not currently accessing it.
“The Feeley report sets out the transformational change required to create a care service which both meets the needs of, and offers dignity to, older people but it comes at considerable cost.
“In our report, we acknowledge that a move to a model of social insurance cannot happen overnight, so in order to meet that funding requirement and start implementing reform now, we propose a 1p increase in Income Tax.
“Work must also begin on a cross-party social insurance solution to create a sustainable long-term solution for paying for care. Only bravery and boldness will tackle this vital issue effectively.”
In his foreword for the paper, Paul Gray, former chief executive of NHS Scotland, said: “It will be a real test of leadership across the political spectrum, and across the delivery and representative bodies, as to whether it is possible to engage in discussions that are likely to prompt a radical change.
“In my experience, politicians of all parties are adept at finding areas of common ground, whatever the external sound and fury.
“I believe that the public would welcome more visibility of that approach.”