Income tax should increase by 1p to pay for improvements to adult social care in Scotland, a think tank has said.
Reform Scotland said the temporary income tax rise should be introduced to pave the way for a social insurance model to pay for care.
It has produced a report titled The Cost of Caring, which also calls for a cross-party commission to tackle the issue of funding.
The think tank said the 1p rise can be used in the short term, but in the longer term it is unsustainable for a proportionately reducing workforce to pay for an ageing population.
Reform Scotland research director Alison Payne said: “Kate Forbes made it clear in her Budget that the Government is aware of the long term challenges in the social care sector.
“However, what is clear is that those challenges are cross-party and inter-generational.”
She continued: “When cool heads prevail in a constructive, cross-party environment, it will be clear that a move to a model of social insurance is both necessary and inevitable.
“It cannot happen overnight, which is why we propose a 1p increase in income tax to cover the immediate requirements, but work must now begin on the long-term solution.
“Doing this will be uncomfortable.
“But the consequence of not doing it will be far more so.”
Social care minister Kevin Stewart said: “Our priority for social care is the creation of the National Care Service, but the 2022-23 budget ensures we do not wait for the service to come into being to continue to drive up standards and quality.
“We will therefore increase public investment in social care by 25% over the term of this parliament, delivering over £800m of increased support for social care.
“The 2022-23 budget confirmed more than £1.6bn for social care and integration to lay the groundwork for the National Care Service.
“The 2022-23 budget is transitional and paves the way for a full Resource Spending Review in May 2022 which will set out the government’s long-term funding plans and the roadmap for delivering key commitments, such as the establishment of a National Care Service.
“We will use this budget, and the Spending Review, to work across the Scottish Parliament and society to deliver on our promises to the people of Scotland.”