Headlines: March 16th, 2010

A new report on the social care system for older people is suggesting fairer funding arrangements and reforms to the benefits system. The proposals are published today by the King’s Fund, which suggests a revised version of the ‘partnership model’ proposed by the Wanless review is the fairest way of funding care in the future.

The report ‘Securing good care for more older people’ updates the review led by Sir Derek Wanless published by the Fund four years ago. The report says the partnership arrangement would see the state paying half of everyone’s care costs with ‘matched funding’ for individual contributions to encourage people to save for their old age.

The Fund says its proposed reforms would halve unmet need by significantly increasing the amount of care people get and would see around 50 per cent more people being helped. As well as the revised partnership, recommendations include stepping up plans to improve the delivery of care with particular emphasis on more personalised services; quality; reviewing the current settlement for older people, including looking at the default retirement age, the level of the basic state pension and a timetable for raising the pension age. It also urges a long term, staged approach to reform to ensure fairness between the generations based on political consensus.

Reforming Attendance Allowance, the report says, could bring up to 3 billion pounds in savings by 2026. Dr Anna Dixon, Acting Chief Executive of the Fund said: “The people who stand to benefit most from our proposals are those on moderate and middle incomes who are heavily penalised by the current system.”