Abstracts: April 6th, 2009

The UK will only be able to pay for future social care for older people by introducing a radical new ‘combined’ social insurance scheme according to a report from the think tank New Local Government Network.

It is expected over two million extra people will need care by the middle of the 21st century, however state funding for social care is currently growing at a much slower rate than the population explosion among older people demands. Health experts have predicted that the UK is heading for a funding gap of 6bn pounds within two decades unless the system is changed. The Government is expected to publish a new Social Care Green Paper within the next few months.

The report argues that local government must remain in the driving seat when commissioning care services and facilities for older people, but that the current local funding strains are unsustainable in their present state. With too many frail elderly people being forced to sell and move out of their homes, a nationwide ‘combined social insurance’ offer is needed to pay for a higher quality of care for Britain’s ageing population.

The proposed social insurance scheme would be based on citizens making gradual contributions over the course of their working lives, with regular contributions added to a hypothecated social insurance fund. This scheme may be funded solely on worker contributions or on a national insurance basis with contributions from both workers and employers. Similar scenes already exist in Germany and the Netherlands.

Better with age is available from the NLGN.