A new report from the Commission on the Future of Health and Social Care concludes that free care could be provided for all elderly people considered frail enough, on the same basis as health care, for around £5 billion extra a year.
One of the suggestions for raising the extra revenue is a somewhat contentious plan to charge higher rates of National Insurance for middle aged and middle class people in return for enabling them to receive the free care.
The commission recommends charging everyone over the age of 40 an extra one per cent in National Insurance contributions, and a further one per cent on anyone earning over £42,000 a year.
The issue of care for the elderly is something that is already a problem and one that will only grow in coming years.
It is going to be difficult to rely on the taxes paid by our children and grandchildren as the retired population continues to grow. It is also becoming increasingly unfair to burden the young with the costs of the old when many are graduating from University with tens of thousands of pounds of debt to pay off and house prices (and deposits) becoming even further out of their reach.
So is further squeezing of the already squeezed middle the answer?