Nuffield Trust responds to the Government's announcement on social care funding

Nuffield Trust Chief Economist Anita Charlesworth responds to proposals for reforming the system of social care support.

Press Release

Published: 11/02/2013

Responding to today's proposals for reforming the system of social care support for individuals, Nuffield Trust Chief Economist Anita Charlesworth said:

“There is almost universal agreement that the social care system needs urgent and fundamental reform. The Government’s announcement is therefore an important milestone in the history of social care reform.

"It matters because it establishes some important principles at the heart of the social care system.

Most people will worry that the cap is very high and it’s not clear that the Government has worked out how to pay for this in the longer-termNuffield Trust Chief Economist Anita Charlesworth

“Under the current social care system we effectively have two rates of inheritance tax: one for people who do not need expensive levels of care at the end of their life and another for people who are unfortunate enough to become sufficiently frail or suffer from dementia so that they spend their last years in residential care.

“This is not a good way to design a tax system. The capped system has the potential to share the costs and risks of catastrophic care more fairly.

“However, while this represents progress, the Government’s proposed new system is far from perfect – most people will worry that the cap is very high and it’s not clear that the Government has worked out how to pay for this in the longer-term.

“Most importantly, the proposals do not address the fundamental gap between the amount of public money being spent on social care and the pressures on the system.

“Whilst today’s announcement is not the solution to all the problems of the social care system, reforming funding in line with the Dilnot principles is an important and very welcome step in the right direction.”