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Ministers considering national insurance rise to fund social care



Boris Johnson has agreed to increase national insurance to fund long-awaited social care reforms, it has been reported.

National insurance payments for businesses and employees will rise by 1%, raising £1bn annually, according to The Times today.

However, the plan will not be unveiled until autumn after parliament’s summer recess, which begins this Thursday, the Guardian reported. This is because Mr Johnson, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, and health and social care secretary Sajid Javid are self-isolating.

Backed by an increase in national insurance contributions, the proposals would see costs to the individual capped at a certain amount, which has not yet been specified, with the state paying the rest.

The Government hopes the plans would help cut the spiraling NHS waiting list, which is made greater by the numbers of people stuck in hospital waiting for social care packages so they can be discharged. Official figures this month show the waiting list now stands at 5.3m.

Mr Johnson vowed to ‘fix’ social care ‘once and for all’ in his first speech as Prime Minister in 2019, but has not yet brought forward any firm proposals.­­

In April, umbrella bodies – including Care England, Age UK and NHS Confederation – said failed attempts to fix the social care by successive governments has left the sector ‘on its knees’ and ‘in desperate need of reform’.

They also said they supported recent calls from the Health and Social Care Committee for an extra £7bn per annum at least for the sector and a workforce strategy to avoid the risk of market collapse.

In March, a National Audit Office report found that the Department of Health and Social Care had not produced a workforce strategy for social care in England since 2009. The Government has delayed its social care green paper seven times since the first deadline of summer 2017.

Nursing in Practice has contacted the Department of Health and Social Care for comment.