New wealth taxes would be introduced to pay for free social care for the over-65s under the Green Party, its leader has announced.
Workers earning over £100,000 would pay more and a “Robin Hood” financial transaction tax would be created to fund support for vulnerable pensioners, Natalie Bennett said.
The problem of how to resolve the enormous costs of care for the elderly will be one of battlegrounds of the general election campaign but Ms Bennett insisted that in a “decent, humane” society it must be free.
Addressing her party’s spring conference in Liverpool, Ms Bennett said: “Free healthcare is the very cornerstone of our NHS. Whether you are rich or poor you have the right to the best that is available.
“That’s something the Green Party will restore - and extend. For that same principle should apply to social care - the support and services that you need to lead a fulfilling life should be available when you need it, free at the point of use.
“We believe that to be a decent, humane, caring society, social care must be free.
“We believe those who have the most should contribute to help pay for social care. We need a range of new taxes aimed at making Britain a more equal society.
“We would introduce a new wealth tax, rigorously clamp down on tax avoidance and evasion and introduce a financial transaction tax - a Robin Hood Tax, and we are not ashamed to say that those on incomes above £100,000 should pay more income tax. Providing free social care for the over-65’s means security and freedom from fear, suffering and loneliness for many, and it means 200,000 new jobs and training places.”
The party has been recording similar levels of support to the Liberal Democrats in polls, and has seen its membership surge to more than 55,000.