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Social care reform requires 'staged approach'

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Leading health thinktank the King’s Fund has called for a staged approach to reforming the nation’s social-care system in its response to the Dilnot Commission’s call for evidence.

The King’s Fund submission – see file at right – said the new funding system Prof Dilnot’s team is to advise on later this year should include a “one-generation” means-tested “compulsory charge or contribution” to bring new resources immediately into the system. Such a move would be targeted at wealthier older people with high levels of housing wealth” and be aimed at driving the financial services industry develop products for them.

It said the system itself should be based on a partnership model balancing a mixture of state and private contributions, with a balance that was flexible enough to be adjusted over time. The charity said such flexibility would mean changes in the economy and the distribution of income and wealth did not undermine the new system.

As a third-stage, the King’s Fund said that as public finances recovered, the level of care costs covered by taxation should be reviewed.

“If the social care system was not sustainable during the years of plenty, the prospects for the lean years ahead look bleak as the pressures of demography take further hold,” the submission said.

“Although the timing could not be worse, the need for reform has never been greater.”

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