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Public warming to tax levy for social care survival . . . but . . .

Blog post 17 May 2017

A tax rise to fund social care may not be such a bitter pill, according to a new survey where 57 per cent of those polled supported the idea.

The findings in The Observer were published earlier this month – just days before the Conservatives outlined their manifesto for the snap General Election.

As the article points out “funding care has become a key domestic political challenge after years of falling town hall budgets led to cuts in home services for older people.”

Indeed.

Pollsters ComRes found that 33 per cent of the 2,029 adults it interviewed would pay up to £50 a year more in council tax to rescue social care.

Another 17 per cent said they would happily see their bills rise by between £50 and £100 and others were prepared to pay between £100 and £150 (4 per cent), £150 to £200 (1 per cent) and more than £200 (1%) for social care.

In the breakdown, some 27 per cent of males were more disposed than women (20 per cent) to say they’d cough up more than £50 a year extra.

Across all social classes the survey revealed 23 per cent were happy to pay at least £50 or more.

I should be heartened by the response as it appears the general public (whoever they are) seem to be getting the message that social care needs money to survive.

For me, this is much more heartening feedback that was received on proposals for private social care insurance policies.

Former shadow health minister Norman Lamb was reported as saying people had “the clear appetite for paying a bit more to ensure that our loved ones get the care they need.”

It would be unfair not to mention that unwillingness to pay was highest in the northwest of England (40 per cent) and Wales (39 per cent), with men (35 per cent) more opposed than women (31 per cent).

Okay . . . so the care sector has gained some traction it appears in educating those who do not yet need its services, but, and it’s a big one . . . any tax-driven system needs to be a fair one.

Philip Hammond, the chancellor, allowed councils across England to levy an increased 3 per cent precept, on council tax this year, a drop in the ocean to fix the problem.

But these council tax hikes hit those on lower incomes disproportionately harder.

A more proportionate arrangement is needed here.

In what is essentially is a two-horse race, the election polls show a comfortable majority for the Conservatives with a 94 per cent chance of the party securing a Commons majority. Labour, I read, is gaining ground, but a win seems unlikely.

Do I believe such radical tax proposals would be announced by either party before voting in June? Never! Far too risky.

Ah well, I was heartened for a little while . . . Chocolate beckons.

The survey was carried out for Incisive Health, global healthcare policy and communication experts.

ComRes interviewed 2,029 British adults.