Reform Scotland

THINK TANK ASKS ALL PARTIES TO COMMIT TO CARE FUNDING COMMISSION IN 2022

Reform Scotland builds on report following Scottish Government Budget announcement of increased pay

Reform Scotland, the independent, non-partisan think tank, today asks for all parties in the Scottish Parliament to work together during 2022 on how care should be funded in Scotland in the long term.

In its recent report – The Cost of Caring: Getting Serious About Funding and Improving Social Care in Scotland – the think tank called for a cross-party commission to develop a sustainable social insurance model to pay for care.

At the recent Scottish Government Budget, Finance and Economy Secretary Kate Forbes MSP introduced a minimum wage floor of £10.50 per hour for public sector workers, which will lift social care workers from just over £10.

However, to extend eligibility, as well as implementing other recommendations set out in the Independent Review of Adult Social Care will require additional revenue. Reform Scotland has argued for a temporary 1p rise in Income Tax to start implementing reform now, but says that in the longer term it is unsustainable for a proportionately reducing workforce to pay for an ageing population.

The paper also calls for a widespread public awareness campaign so that voters better understand how social care is currently paid for and what rights they have if, and when, they may need to access care themselves.

Kate Forbes made it clear in her Budget that the Government is aware of the long term challenges in the social care sector. However, what is clear is that those challenges are cross-party and inter-generational. They are issues that face us all, and without genuine long-term, cross-party thinking we will not solve them.

“In our report, we acknowledge that a move to a model of social insurance cannot happen overnight, so in order to meet that funding requirement and start implementing reform now, we propose a 1p increase in Income Tax.

“When cool heads prevail in a constructive, cross-party environment, it will be clear that a move to a model of social insurance is both necessary and inevitable. It cannot happen overnight, which is why we propose a 1p increase in Income Tax to cover the immediate requirements, but work must now begin on the long-term solution.

“Doing this will be uncomfortable. But the consequence of not doing it will be far more so.”

Alison Payne, Research Director, Reform Scotland