Raise taxes to fund care home bills, say elderly

Most old people want every working family to pay an 'ageing tax' to cover the cost of care home places, research showed yesterday.

Extra national insurance contributions were the most popular method suggested to raise the tax, according to the survey of 55 to 75-year-olds by Age Concern.

Laws restricting use of the money would prevent ministers diverting funds elsewhere.


Elderly respondents to the survey said they want working families to pay higher taxes to pay for their care home places

The current means-test system - which sees as many as 70,000 people a year forced to sell their homes to meet care home bills of £500 a week and more - was condemned as unfair.

The report said: 'It was perceived to penalise the thrifty and those who have worked hard throughout their lives, thereby acting as a disincentive to save.'

It added: 'Many thought that a small amount of money paid throughout their working life would not be missed and was therefore more acceptable than alternatives which were perceived as a big financial shock because they involved large sums of money.'

Age Concern director Gordon Lishman said: 'There is a significant role for taxation in paying for better care, for people who are unable to pay the costs themselves. Most people would prefer at least some of the costs to be paid for collectively in order to pool risks.'

But he added that further research would be needed 'to find out whether young people who are raising families and just starting to get on to the housing ladder agree'.

A Government green paper is due to be published shortly setting out plans to reform the means-test system that currently covers the cost of care homes and help for frail older people who live at home.

The care system's £15billion cost to the taxpayer is likely to double in the future, even without better standards, because of the ageing population.

No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now