Pensions - Articles - Keeping pressure on Government on social care funding

Aegon has welcomed new proposals on social care funding from the Centre for Policy Studies as helpful in adding to the debate and keeping pressure on the Government to advance its promised Green Paper on this pressing societal issue

 Steven Cameron, Pensions Director at Aegon said: With an increasing number of us facing the prospect of needing social care in later life, the Government needs to put in place a stable and sustainable way of sharing costs between the state and individuals, based on their wealth. Importantly, this must be fair and accepted as fair across generations and wealth bands.

 “The Government’s share needs to be adequately funded, ensuring good quality care across the country, with an end to the current geographical lottery. As our society increasingly enjoys longer lives, this inevitably comes at a cost. While this has proven particularly politically sensitive, we urgently need an open debate around how to pay for this, including the potential for increased taxes, earmarked for social care. Ideally, a new deal would gain cross-party support.

 “Alongside this, individuals must have a clear understanding of what they’ll be expected to pay should they need care, with an overall limit or ‘cap’ on care costs. There needs to be incentives to plan ahead for an event which could be 20 or more years into the future. Individuals should also be given the chance to make an additional personal contribution, for example if they want to ‘upgrade’ the standard of care home accommodation.”

 Aegon’s essential components for social care funding

 Over-riding principles
 • A system which offers everyone good quality care and dignity in later life, integrated with NHS and other care providers
 • Fair sharing between what the Government will pay and what individuals will be expected to pay for care based on their wealth
 • Long term stability with cross-party support
 • An approach widely accepted as fair across generations and wealth bands
 Government considerations
 • Sustainable Government funding of its share, with transparency over how this will be raised including from income, expenditure and wealth taxes
 • Adequate resources at local council level, reflecting age profiles, and an end to the current care lottery across regions
 • Encouragement through tax incentives for people to save in advance
 • An overall cap on individual contributions towards care costs
 • Clarity on other ‘room and board’ costs with choices to suit individual needs and preferences
 • Increase or an end to the pensions lifetime allowance to allow people to fund for their ‘normal’ retirement needs as well as care costs within their pension
 • Clarity on whether or not an individual’s home is counted as part of their assets when being assessed for a personal contribution
 Individual considerations
 • A clear and understandable way of determining personal contribution towards care costs
 • An overall cap on how much an individual will ever be asked to pay for care
 • Clarity on other ‘room and board’ costs with choices to suit individual needs and preferences
 • Access to professional advice on the most suitable way of planning ahead to fund personal contribution

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