DHSC considers auto-enrolment plan to tackle social care crisis

Health secretary Matt Hancock throws weight behind pensions-style system to provide funding boost

Photo: PA

By Matt Foster

17 Sep 2018

The Department of Health and Social Care is mulling a pensions-style opt-out system to tackle Britain's social care funding crisis, health secretary Matt Hancock has revealed.

The Local Government Association warned earlier this year that adult social care services face a £3.5 billion funding gap by 2025 just to maintain existing standards of care.

In a bid to solve the problem, Hancock told the Telegraph that the government's upcoming Green Paper on social care could include plans for every adult in England to pay into a national fund to cover care for their later years.

"I’m attracted to the model of auto-enrolment, which has been so successful in pensions," he said.

"If you make it the norm, tell people what it is they have to do to look after themselves, it’s often the case that very few people will opt out.

"It takes away the injustice of people losing all that they have saved for."

The plans would mean that people would have to actively choose not to contribute towards the social care system.

Under the current system in England, councils fund all or part of a person’s social care if they own less than £23,250 in capital.

Theresa May came under fire during last year's snap election campaign after vowing to raise that threshold to £100,000. The plans were derided as a "dementia tax" by critics.

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