​Will you have to pay a social care tax?

The cost of care is rising and the state can't pick up the bill

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National insurance is often perceived to be a payment towards your state pension and although it's not technically a different pot, most people are happy to pay for it because they feel they are getting something out of it.

But would you be happy to pay a social care tax in the same way?

The idea of a care tax is a difficult one to sell – while most people want to retire and take the state pension, no one wants to get so ill in old age they have to go into care – but unfortunately it may be one tax we desperately need.

Reams of data point to a social care timebomb in the UK. As the nation ages there will not be enough young people working and paying taxes to support older people needing pensions, and an increasing number needing long-term care.

The government has already climbed down on its plan to introduce a care cost cap of £72,000 next year that would have meant no one would pay more than this for their care. However, lobbying from local councils who have to foot the rest of the bill means the cap has been kicked into 2020.

While this is frustrating for families with loved ones in care, it points to a wider problem: we don't have enough money to pay for years and years of care for an older and sicker population.

Social tax

This is where Labour leader contender Andy Burnham has stepped in and proposed a social care tax. Burnham said he plans to levy a 15% of people's estates on death the proceeds of which would go to funding care. The average bill would be around £46,000 his figures show.

As the Tories are introducing a £1 million inheritance tax allowance, this 'death tax' looks even more punitive but it will only become more necessary.

Of course, you may be one of the lucky ones who doesn't need care but equally you may be the one in four who does – who is going to pay for your nursing home? Will this burden fall to your family, will you downsize, or have you saved enough to fund the rest of your life in a care home that is of a decent standard?

If you don't know how to pay, then don't dismiss the idea of a social care tax because one day you may benefit.

Read more:

Who will pay for the National Care Service?

Don't count on insurers to help you pay for long-term care

Does the NHS owe you £80,000?

3 Ways to Make Long-Term Care More Affordable

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