A fork in the road: Next steps for social care funding reform The costs of social care funding options, public attitudes to them - and the implications for policy reform

May 2018

Simon Bottery
Michael Varrow
Dan Wellings
Thumbnail

Key points

  • Maintaining the current system, which sees fewer people receiving publicly-funded care every year, will lead to a funding gap of £6bn by 2030/31.
  • Returning access to pre-austerity (2009/10) levels would increase this gap to £15bn. More fundamental reforms, whilst still expensive, would cost less than that and would offer the chance of a fairer and less complex system, providing support to more people.
  • Implementing a 'cap and floor’ model similar to the Conservative Party proposal at the 2017 general election would cost an extra £12bn, whilst introducing free personal care for all older people with needs above the current threshold would increase the funding gap to £14bn.
  • Public perceptions findings from the National Centre for Social Research’s British Social Attitudes survey reveal extremely low understanding of how social care operates, with 34% believing the government pays. When asked who should fund social care, 41% felt it should be entirely tax-funded.
  • With taxation the most likely option for boosting social care funding, the findings of separate deliberative work carried out by Ipsos MORI shows most people would prefer a dedicated tax to stop the money being diverted elsewhere. Options that include the possibility of people selling their homes to cover care costs, as exists now, were found to be deeply unpopular.
  • Read our latest estimates of the funding needed to stabilise the adult social care system in England.

Joint report with The King’s Fund, A fork in the road, looks into the costs of social care funding options, public attitudes to them, and the implications for policy reform.

Read executive summary

The report pulls together new financial modelling, public perceptions work and policy analysis to identify the current problems with adult social care in England and the costs of alternative models

It highlights low public awareness of social care and a lack of agreement on priorities for reform as major barriers to progress, despite political consensus on the need for urgent action.

It concludes that reforming the current system will be expensive, but if reform is chosen, England is now at a clear ‘fork in the road’ with a choice between a better means-tested system and one that is more like the NHS; free at the point of use for those who need it.

Further reading

Chart

The social care funding gap – our updated estimates and figures explained

Chart

This update gives revised estimates for the social care funding gap and sets out how and why our...

Working paper

Approaches to social care funding

February 2018
Working paper

This paper considers five commonly raised approaches to funding social care for older people in...

You might also like...

Event

Webinar: The government Spending Review

Event

Catch up on this Health Foundation webinar, analysing the key headlines from the government's...

Consultation response

Workforce burnout and resilience in the NHS and social care

Consultation response

Health Foundation response to the Health and Social Care Committee on the need for a comprehensive...

Press release

Call to prioritise public health as analysis shows at least 77,000 premature deaths result from inequality each year

Press release

A new report by the Health Foundation says that, in the wake of the pandemic, there is a window of...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy

Get social

Join our two-part webinar with @TheMarmotReview on 15 December. Part 2, hosted by @HealthFdn, looks ahead at what… https://t.co/jAE1a4evJ4

Follow us on Twitter
Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more