Paying for care in our old age

Regressive national insurance increase for social care
National insurance increase for social care is regressive. Photo by Number 10 on Flickr under CC BY 2.0

Dear Editor,

As Catherine Rowett suggested in her recent article, it seems likely that working people will have to pay a significant increase in their “national insurance” tax to pay for care for the elderly.

The elderly are currently able to receive care and social services from local authorities, some paying nothing for this care, others paying very little. Many of those elderly people are able to eventually leave estates valued up to £1 million free of tax to relatives who, in many cases, have done nothing to support them.

In 2020, people with estates valued at:

  • £2-3 million, paid less that 20 percent inheritance tax on values over that £1 million;
  • £10 million, paid less than ten percent inheritance tax;
  • over £100 million, paid zero percent inheritance tax.

In 2016, the late Duke of Westminster left £8.3 billion to his heir and paid no inheritance tax on the bulk of it. He is just one of the hundreds of super rich who pay no inheritance tax.

The rich avoid this tax by establishing trusts or by placing their wealth in “shadow” family corporations. Others hide their wealth in funds or trusts in one of the UK’s 16 offshore tax havens. 

It is the duty of us all to care for the elderly and fund social services. The cost of this duty should be born by every member of society to the extent they can afford. The richest people within our society have designed or been given mechanisms whereby they can totally avoid this duty. And members of our Government and our Parliament are included in and complicit in the avoidance of this duty. 

Martin Deighton
Woodbridge, Suffolk

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