BRITS should have money taken automatically out of their pay packets to fund care in later life, Jeremy Hunt declared last night.
The would-be PM said he wanted to see a system similar to auto-enrolment for pensions introduced to tackle the £3.5 billion black hole in social care.
And he signalled those who “did the right thing” would have their care costs capped. He told the BBC: “I’d do a deal.
“If you’re prepared to save responsibly during your life then we will cut those costs. We need to be a country which rewards people who do the right thing.”
The comments came as Mr Hunt said he’d been waiting to be PM for “30 years of my life” as he stepped up his bid for the top job.
Currently, people have to use their own savings – including housing wealth – right down to their last £23,250 to pay for their care.
Ex-PM David Cameron promised to cap care costs at £72,000 in 2016 – but reneged on the manifesto pledge.
Mr Hunt – the former Health Secretary – is the latest Cabinet Minister to signal his support for a scheme where payslip deductions would go to insurers to cover care home and help costs after retirement.
Under auto-enrolment for pensions employers must put all staff into their pension scheme – giving them a month from the date they start to opt-out.
SAVING FOR CARE
Mr Hunt told the BBC: “My next job if I’d stayed as Health Secretary was a 10 year plan for the social care system, and I do think that councils need more money because I think we want to be a country where we know that as people get older they’re going to be properly looked after.
“So I think there is a bit of public money. But it’s also about personal responsibility.
“I think we should be a country where people save for their social care costs, particularly those last few months, possibly years of their life when things can be very uncomfortable, very painful.
“Just In the same way they save for their pension. I think it should be something that people can opt out of but it should be an automatic thing.”
Matt Hancock, Mr Hunt’s successor at the Department for Health, has been pushing Theresa May and the Chancellor to rubber stamp his proposals for a US-style insurance system to tackle the social care crisis.
But The Sun last month revealed a much delayed Green Paper outlining his suggestions had been put back again – until October – because of a bitter row over how to fund the shake-up.
Last night Mr Hunt expressed “regret” for NHS junior doctor strikes that took place in January 2016 when he was Health Secretary.
Asked in a live Q&A on Twitter about past NHS negotiations for new contracts for junior doctors, Mr Hunt said: “It was an issue of principle for me as I passionately wanted to make the NHS safer at weekends. But always regret that dispute ended in a strike.”
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In a series of quick-fire questions with Twitter users he also vowed to consider Sajid Javid’s demand for 20,000 extra police officers and hinted he would give a top Cabinet job to another failed Tory leadership contender Rory Stewart.
In more light-hearted answers Mr Hunt mocked David Cameron for forgetting which football team he supported when he was PM.
And he joked how he was taking tips from Game of Thrones to use during his head-to-head battle with Boris Johnson.
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