Research undertaken by the Kings Fund on funding long-term care provision has drawn attention to an anomaly in the National Insurance system. People who go on working after the age of 65 pay no personal National Insurance contributions, though their employers do pay. With one in four currently working past retirement – and with this figure set to increase dramatically in the coming years as more and more Baby Boomers reach retirement age – politicians are likely to change the rules. The Kings Fund suggests a 6% NI rate for over-65s (half the normal rate), which it proposes to use to help pay for long-term care.
The Chancellor is known to favour merging the income tax and NI systems, since as its stands Britain’s system is both more complicated than that of most other European nations but is also riddled with anomalies. This is a long-term project, though, and one should never underestimate the attractions of a quick tax grab to politicians needing money to fund spending they cannot otherwise afford. We will keep our eyes peeled.