LONDON (AP) — U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Tuesday how he plans to keep a key election promise to grapple with the rocketing cost of long-term care for Britain’s growing older population. To do it, he broke another election vow: not to raise taxes.
Johnson told lawmakers in the House of Commons that his Conservative government had made the “difficult but responsible” decision to hike taxes in order to raise 36 billion pounds ($50 billion) over three years for social care and the overstretched National Health Service. The NHS faces a backlog of millions of delayed appointments and procedures after 18 months of pandemic pressures.
Johnson said there would be no more “dither and delay” about reforming social care.
“Governments have ducked this problem for decades,” he said.
That burden of funding care for older, sick and disabled adults in Britain currently falls largely on individuals, who often have to deplete their savings or sell their homes to pay for it. One in seven people ends up paying more than 100,000 pounds ($138,000), according to the government, which calls the cost of elder care “catastrophic and often unpredictable.”
Meanwhile, funding care for the poor who can’t afford it is placing a growing burden on overstretched local authorities.