'Ageing tax' to fund elderly care crisis in Britain

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London, May 13 (UNI) Every working British family may end up paying an ''ageing tax'' in the form of compulsory levy to cover the social cost of care home places that will be utilised to provide care for the elderly.

The ''ageing tax'' proposal was given yesterday by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown which is in accordance with the central plank of a consultation launched by him in the face of a growing crisis over who should meet the bills for the care of the elderly, Daily Mail reported.

''The working people who pay the planned tax will continue to meet the bills of those 'in need' many of whom have no savings or property because they have never worked or saved,'' the consultation papers said.

But the proposals raise the prospect of the modestly well-off having to pay twice.

They include no guarantee of ending the hugely unpopular system which forces elderly people to sell their homes to meet care home bills and deny their children an inheritance.

''Housing equity'' might still be used to cover costs, the consultation papers informed.

Yesterday's consultation paper, endorsed by Mr Brown and seven Cabinet ministers declared that the Treasury cannot pay the fast-rising cost of care homes and home help as the number of elderly people increases.

It said 68 per cent of people in care homes and 73 per cent of home help services are currently publicly funded.

A ''funding gap'' of 6 billion pounds will open over the next 20 years between the amount paid by the taxpayer and what will be needed.

''We think the principle of sharing costs between the family, the individual and government is right however and if every adult makes a contribution, the risks of high costs hitting each household are reduced,'' the consultation paper added.

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