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Growing acceptance of the need to share care costs in run up to Govt Green Paper

22 July 2018

The public has shown overwhelming support for a deal between the state and the individual to share the cost of social care but there remains a divide on how much individuals should be expected to pay, new research from Aegon has shown.

The research found that 68% of people were in favour of sharing costs, with support for the idea fairly consistent across all age groups.

However, Aegon said the challenge for the government’s impending Green Paper on social care would be to determine how much people are willing to contribute and how low remaining assets will need to fall to before the state picks up the care costs.

The Conservative Party’s 2017 manifesto caused widespread outrage when it suggested a floor of £100,000, including their property.

The pension and investment provider said that 57% of people were against the idea of including property when assessing entitlement to state payments, with a further 20% unsure.

Support for a cap on the total individuals should be forced to pay was also strong, with 64% calling for an upper limit on the total they would be expected to fund. When asked how they would fund care if they needed it, pensions were the most popular choice (32%).

Steven Cameron, pensions director, Aegon, said: “Funding social care raises many questions of fairness across the generations, so the fact that there’s support for sharing costs across age groups will be welcomed by Government.

“But after the Government’s pre-election proposals were heavily criticised as a ‘dementia tax’, the more controversial question is how low a ‘floor’ will an individual’s assets need to fall to before the state picks up the full costs of care. And crucially, will the value of an individual’s home be counted when assessing eligibility for Government support?

“Our surveys repeatedly show people are very reluctant to sell their homes to pay for care. But given so much of many people’s wealth is tied up in property, it’s hard to overlook it.

He added: “Pensions are the most popular option for paying for care and in our view they’re well suited to the task. We’d encourage the government to think about offering people incentives to ring-fence part of their pension for later life to pay for care should they need it.”

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