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Boris Johnson delays social care reform until autumn | UK | News

Negotiations between Mr Johnson, Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were hit after Mr Javid was struck down with coronavirus. An announcement is not expected until after parliament’s summer recess. Increasing NI would break a Tory manifesto pledge not to raise personal taxes.

The PM’s spokesman refused to be drawn on speculation. He said: “The process for agreeing our proposals is still ongoing. We will set that out before the end of the year.”

Business minister Paul Scully said he did not recognise reports of the NI rise.

He said: “It’s been around for a long time this issue, and we really do need to get to grips with it, and that’s what the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary are really determined to do.”

There were warnings that the national insurance plan penalises workers but charities said action was needed.

Steven Cameron, a pensions director at life insurance giant Aegon, said the move “would look hard to justify on intergenerational fairness grounds”.

Caroline Abrahams, the charity director at Age UK, said the organisation opposes older people bearing the entire care burden but it “does seem right that they should make a contribution to it” if they can afford it.

John O’Connell, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Social care requires a more sustainable solution than whacking up taxes on working people and businesses.”

Torsten Bell, at the Resolution Foundation, said increasing NI “asks younger and lower-paid workers to contribute more than older and wealthier people, compared to a fairer rise in income tax”.

Professor Len Shackleton, of the Institute of Economic Affairs think tank, said the hike would be “yet another burden on working-age people at a time when jobs are insecure, inflation is rising and wages are squeezed”.

Comment by Jan Shortt

Reports that the Government aims to fund social care reform by putting 1p on national insurance contributions must not be seen as a tax on the young.

Working people of all ages would be investing in their future care from a sector on its knees.

Not to invest now means social care as we know it may barely exist, except for the well-off, when today’s young people retire.

While funds need to be found for the health service, it is imperative that this NI increase is ring-fenced, in line with surveys carried out by the Daily Express.

A National Care Service is a radical proposal, but it deals with equity-funded providers, gives security of tenure in care homes, care workers value and respect ‑ and provide future generations with the quality of care they need when they retire.

Jan Shortt is General Secretary of the National Pensioners Convention

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