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New tax to fund elderly care 'important', says FM hopeful

Posted on 11/06/2018 by David Burgess

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One of the men hoping to become the next first minister has said he wants to see a new tax to pay for elderly care in Wales.

A Social Care Levy is one of four possible new taxes which could be brought in by the Welsh Government.

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said introducing the tax would be a "hugely important opportunity for Wales".

Mr Gething hopes to run in the race to succeed Carwyn Jones when he steps down in December.

Social care covers everything from help in an individual's home for tasks such as washing and dressing, to round-the-clock help in a care home.

It is currently funded by councils, but research suggests that by 2025 there could be nearly three million people over the age of 65 needing care in England and Wales - a 25% increase since 2015.

The Health Foundation last year estimated pressures on social care in Wales would rise by about 4.1% a year over the next 15 years due to population changes, the nature of complex and chronic conditions and rising costs.

Speaking to BBC Wales' Sunday Politics programme, Mr Gething accepted more cash had to be found to ease the burden on councils and the NHS.

"I think it's a hugely important opportunity for Wales and, actually, the rest of the UK too," said Mr Gething who said he was "open to the idea" of the tax in October and has now strengthened his stance.

"If we can make that work here and resolve some of the difficulties about the impact on UK benefits systems as well then we potentially have a way which not only delivers more money but is also actually acceptable to the wider public too.

"They've got to believe that this isn't just a new way of taking money out of their pockets but is a new way of delivering better care."

Mr Gething is one of two men who are expected to compete in the contest to replace Mr Jones, due to stand down in December - after almost a decade at the helm of Welsh politics.

So far, only Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford has formally announced he will stand in the race to replace him.

Mr Gething, who if successful would be the first BEM Welsh Labour leader and first minister - wants to run but still needs the support of one more AM to be able to take part in the race.

Source: BBCNews