Over-50s could be forced to pay more than £300 a year extra National Insurance to help fund a “fairer” social care system under plans by the Conservatives.
Tory MP Damian Green, who was in charge of drawing up a green paper on social care for England while he was in government, wants the care system to adopt a similar model to the state pension.
Everyone would be entitled to a basic “safety net” of support, but individuals would be encouraged to top up this provision from their own savings or housing wealth.
Mr Green also set out a range of measures aimed at filling a £2.75bn funding gap – including the potential 1% National Insurance hike on the over-50s.
But he suggests it as a “last resort” to bring in £2.4bn.
The former cabinet minister suggests an extra £350m could be generated by taxing the winter fuel allowance, and funding could also be found by diverting savings from elsewhere in government.
On top of the £6bn already provided by the government this would cover the cost of the “universal care entitlement” under Mr Green’s model.
This could be boosted by a privately-funded “care supplement”, a new form of insurance which could pay for “rooms, better food, more trips, additional entertainment”.
In his Fixing the Care Crisis paper, drawn up for the Centre for Policy Studies, Mr Green said: “The crisis in our social care system is one of the most pressing issues our country currently faces.
“It causes acute problems for the wider NHS, with 1.98 million delayed transfers in 2017/18 for those moving out of NHS care. The Conservative Party has an urgent need to show that it has ideas about vital domestic policy issues such as this.
“That why I propose a wholesale change in our approach to social care, mirroring the state pension system with the introduction of a universal care entitlement and care supplement.
“By combining this new system with an increase in funding we will be able to tackle this most intractable of political dilemmas fairly and responsibly.”
Robert Colvile, director of the Centre for Policy Studies, said: “This issue has been politically toxic, but we need a solution that commands consensus.
“I urge politicians from all parties to consider these proposals extremely carefully.”
But Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell accused the government of punishing older people.
He said: “We want to hear today a clear statement from the government that they will reject this call, protect the triple lock, and follow Labour’s call to fund social care properly.
“Anything less than a clear rejection of these plans to punish older people, and the voters will need to draw their own conclusions.”