Pensions  

Govt addresses social care funding

Govt addresses social care funding

The government’s future model of social care won’t be solely funded by taxpayers, the secretary of state for health and social care has said.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday (17 October), Matt Hancock said individuals will be called on to contribute to the system but the state could not rely only on the taxpayer to support the growing cost of social care.

He said: "Some people propose the answer that the taxpayer should simply fund everything, but I do not think that that is a valid solution."

Mr Hancock said the government was committed to ensuring that everyone has access to the care and support they need.

He said: "However, as has always been the case, that must be based on the principle of shared responsibility. With sensible planning, people should not have to fear the risk of losing everything."

He added: "The adult social care green paper, which will be published later this year, will bring forward a range of ideas to address the long-term challenge."

Mr Hancock reiterated that one of the possible solutions for social care funding was a product akin to pensions auto-enrolment.

This would imply that every adult in England would be expected to pay into a national fund to cover their care in later life.

He said: "We want to learn from what has been proven to work (…).

"The rate of opting out has been remarkably low, and this has put in place the foundations for the strengthening of our pensions system over time.

"The green paper will propose a range of options and ideas, learning from both the UK and from around the world."

It is estimated just 12 per cent of adults aged 55 or over are currently putting aside money to pay for social care later in life.

Former prime minister David Cameron had promised to implement a cap on the cost of care of £72,500, which was supposed to come into effect in April 2016.

But in 2015 the government pushed this back to 2020, because it would add £6bn to public sector spending at a "time of consolidation".

In December the government confirmed the proposed cap would be scrapped while a green paper on long-term reform was put together.

The publication of this paper was originally expected in the summer but has since been pushed back to the autumn, and the government has since hinted the publication could be delayed further due to "unforeseen circumstances".

maria.espadinha@ft.com