A sustainable social care system

Based on current spending, our analysis shows that a social care funding gap of £18bn will open up by 2030/31


Social care is the provision of personal care or support to children or adults in need or at risk. This care or support can be both practical and emotional – and the individual’s needs might stem from illness, disability, old age or poverty. Within the UK social care policy is devolved across the four nations.

Whereas the health care system is free at the point of use, in England social care is means-tested, which remains a source of inequity and unfairness. Particularly at a time where social care funding is falling per capita in real terms, reducing the amount and quality of social care that is publicly provided.

An ageing population and increase in the number of younger adults living with disabilities are pushing up the cost of caring for older and disabled people, placing the social care system under huge strain. While all four nations are facing the same demand pressures, the social care system in England needs adequate funding to return to previous levels of access and quality, in addition to the rising demand and costs.

Our research and analysis of social care aims to inform policymaking and ensure the debate is evidence-based and focused on the future.

Health Foundation responds to the Association for the Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) survey

Press release
12 June 2018

The report from ADASS is yet more evidence of the fragile state of social care.

The cost of unmet demand in social care

30 May 2018

May 2018 Chart of the Month. It's estimated that social care spending pressures would grow at 3.7% per year to 2030/31: based on current estimates of the budget for social care this would leave a £6.1...

Social care funding options

May 2018

Health Foundation financial modelling looking at various funding options for social care, how much they would cost and where this funding would come from.

Change in councils’ spending needs and their ability to raise revenue

3 April 2018

March 2018 Chart of the Month. The relationship between changes in per-capita assessed relative spending need and changes in per-capita relative tax revenue capacity, 2006/07-2013/14.

Approaches to social care funding

Working paper
February 2018

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

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