LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson will address lawmakers on Tuesday on his plans to fix Britain’s “broken” social care system, at a time many in his own party are furious that he wants to pay for it by raising taxes, violating an election pledge.
For years, British leaders have been trying to find a way to pay for social care without endangering support by hiking taxes. In 2019, Johnson said he had a plan for social care.
Under the current care system, anyone with assets over 23,350 pounds ($32,305) pays for their care in full. This can lead to spiralling costs and the complete liquidation of someone’s assets.
Costs in Britain are set to soar as the population ages.
“We must act now to ensure the health and care system has the long term funding it needs to continue fighting COVID and start tackling the backlogs, and end the injustice of catastrophic costs for social care,” Johnson will say in a speech to parliament, according to extracts released by his office.
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“My government will not duck the tough decisions needed to get NHS (National Health Service) patients the treatment they need and to fix our broken social care system.”
The extracts did not detail financing plans, but British media have reported that Johnson wants to raise the National Insurance (NI) tax paid by working people to subsidise care for pensioners, including wealthy retirees.
Many lawmakers from Johnson’s Conservative Party worry this will hurt younger, low-income workers and breach his 2019 election guarantee not to raise the rate of NI.
The government said on Monday it will set aside a further 5.4 billion pounds ($7.5 billion) over the next six months to help the NHS cover additional costs from the COVID-19 pandemic and to tackle a huge treatment backlog.
Johnson, finance minister Rishi Sunak and health minister Sajid Javid will follow the statement to parliament with a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Johnson’s office added.
(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by David Gregorio)
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