The money to ‘fix’ the decades-old problem of social care requires a wider tax base to finance it rather than concentrating on National Insurance that hits the incomes of working people, Unite the union said today (Tuesday 7 September).

Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, said that measures such as a ‘wealth’ tax on property and unearned income were a fairer way to properly finance the shortcomings in the social care system which had been cruelly exposed during the continuing 18-month Covid crisis.

Unite said that that any solution to social care needed to go ‘hand-in-hand’ with a massive cash injection for the NHS, which has more than five million patients waiting for treatments such as cancer and hip replacements.

Prime minister Boris Johnson is set today to unveil his long-promised plans for social care and also for the NHS.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “The regeneration of social care needs to have a much wider financial base than the focus on National Insurance which falls on those of working age, particularly the young, and is not paid by the retired who may own a house and have other savings.

“Taxation policy must be seen to be fair for all, otherwise confidence in the public finances is eroded.

“A ‘wealth’ tax should be seriously considered as part of a broad-based approach to underpin the reform of social care, which also needs to see that those working in the sector are paid the equivalent of their NHS counterparts. 

“Low pay for social care jobs is a scandal that has been kicked down the road for far too long. 

“The issue of NHS funding also needs to be tackled – the funding crisis in the health service is also bedevilled by vacancies estimated at 100,000 and waiting lists that will take years to clear. The situation is not helped by the continuing pace of privatisation in the NHS which is costly and ineffective, and only lines the pockets of the profit-hungry private healthcare companies.”

Unite is dedicated to advancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and will fight back against any efforts to diminish workers' living standards. 


Notes to editors:                                                               

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Unite is the leading union in the UK and Ireland, dedicated to defending and improving members' jobs, pay and conditions.  The general secretary is Sharon Graham.