Hopes are rising that 2008 could be a defining year for social care in England after two reports placed ministers under new pressure to devise a fairer funding system.
The document, based on a survey of over 700 people, finds that a majority of care recipients would be willing to fund a portion of their care, rather than retaining the current funding arrangement which sees services increasingly restricted to those with the most severe needs.
Meanwhile, a report from the charity Counsel & Care claims that private or informal care plugs a funding gap of£25,000 for every disabled adult aged over 65 in Britain.
Its Charter for change report says that the cost of social care is expected to rise from the 2002 level of£10.1bn to£24bn by 2026 as the population ages.
Both documents are expected to prove influential in shaping the government green paper on adult social care funding, scheduled for the autumn.
David Rogers (Lib Dem), chair of the Local Government Association community wellbeing board, said this year would point to a future plan for reforming an “inadequate and iniquitous” care system.
“This is going to be a very important year for social care the direction will be a lot clearer at the end of 2008 than it is now,” he added.
Anne Williams, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said: “Local authorities will have a responsibility to make sure that there is a meaningful debate in their area.
“The questions we should all be asking are what kind of services we want, particularly as we grow older, and it’s also about what we would be prepared to pay.”
King’s Fund spokesman Daniel Reynolds said councils had a key insight on the current system’s shortcomings.
“They are in a strong position to give information on the vast level of unmet needs in their areas,” he said.
“It will be up to them to give a picture of what is really happening under the current system.”