The minister who had previously led the development of the social care green paper has suggested he supports a voluntary insurance model for social care.
Damian Green, Theresa May’s former first secretary of state who was forced to resign in December amid allegations of sexual harassment and pornography, spoke this morning on Radio 4’s Today programme, giving the first indication of how the green paper could have been developing before he left government.
Mr Green said: “We need to look at the way… people contribute on a personal basis in what is effectively an insurance policy.”
He suggested people nearing the end of their working life who had benefitted from rising property prices may decide to “put aside” some of their wealth to “fund the potential for social care”. Those aged 35-40 would make “some kind of contribution to build up that pot for social care”.
Mr Green said he hoped the green paper, which is now being overseen by health secretary Jeremy Hunt, would “throw up some radical ideas” and urged “serious public debate” on care funding.
However, asked about the Conservatives’ general election manifesto U-turn, when they retreated from a policy of deferred payments for social care, Mr Green said: “In retrospect… the middle of an election campaign wasn’t the right time to introduce new ideas.”
He urged the development of a “cross-party consensus” on care funding, comparing the issue to the lack of controversy for auto-enrolment for pension contributions, which had successfully led to seven million more people saving for pensions.
Mr Green is currently formulating ideas on the ageing population for the Resolution Foundation thinktank.
Mr Green’s comments come after the Telegraph reported earlier this month that “the government is considering a new type of insurance plan that would cover the costs of care in old age and protect family homes from being ravaged by care fees”.