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From The Socialist newspaper, 4 July 2018

Social care funding crisis: no to an age levy - make the super-rich pay

  (Click to enlarge)

Bea Gardner, Southampton Socialist Party

89% of local councils are calling for a new tax to pay for the cost of adult social care, according to the Local Government Association. Proposals include introducing an age-related care levy, fuelling the divisive myth that the care crisis is the fault of older people.

The Local Government Association found also that over 96% of councils believe there is a major funding problem in social care. Yet English councils plan to squeeze an additional 700 million out of social care budgets in the next year, according to the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.

The Socialist Party would support increased taxation for the super-rich and big business. But a new tax on working and middle class people based on age will not solve the problem.

The working class already contributes to the cost of public services, including social care, through existing taxation - as well as actually running them, for decreasing wages. Yet the government has consistently cut the amount of our money it is willing to give to councils, schools and the NHS, rather than big business.

Social care is primarily funded by local authorities. The government has cut council funding by nearly half since 2010. Most of us have already seen a 6% rise in our council tax this year alone as councils try to pass the cost onto us rather than fighting for the necessary funds from central government.

We all know how desperately needed a funding solution is for social care and the NHS. But it can't be found through ordinary people chipping in even more to pay for it.

Central government has the capacity to pay for social care. The money already exists to provide quality services for all. Britain is the fifth richest country in the world - but that wealth is in the hands of big business and the capitalist class.

Labour councils should set no-cuts budgets with their reserves and borrowing powers, as part of using their position to build a campaign - to win back government funding, to secure the public services we all need for the future.

Corbyn should kick-start this process by promising to underwrite all debt councils incur fighting austerity when he takes office. The trade unions can play a role too, organising workers in social care to help them fight cuts to jobs, pay and conditions.

And just like in the NHS, as well as much more funding, we need to kick out the private profiteers who have sucked the sector dry.

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