Resolution Foundation: Pensions policy must guide care reform

Think-tank the Resolution Foundation has urged the government to follow the path laid by its radical overhaul of the pensions system in its forthcoming reform of adult social care funding.

With the Department of Health due to publish a green paper on the issue this month, the foundation said any reform must pass the same five tests that ministers applied to pensions reform.

These were that any new system:-

  • Promotes personal responsibility, giving everyone the opportunity to lead a fulfilled life in old age.
  • Is fair to women, carers and those who have saved, and protects the poorest.
  • Is affordable to taxpayers and the economy as a whole.
  • Is simple, setting out clearly what the state will do and what is expected of citizens.
  • Is sustainable and forms the basis of an enduring national consensus.

Pensions reform

The reform of the pensions system involved the establishment of an independent commission, led by Adair Turner, to build a consensus for change, leading to legislation in 2007 and 2008. Under the plans, from 2010 onwards, the value of the state pension will be increased and access for women and carers improved, and from 2012 all working people will be automatically enrolled in either an occupational scheme or a new national savings scheme. 

Resolution Foundation chief executive Sue Regan said: “Social care reform requires the same level of ambition and all-party consensus as pensions reform. The five tests help chart a path to a successful social care settlement.”

The foundation, which studies the impact of policy on low earners, has been examining the reform of adult social care since early 2008.

Minimum entitlement

In its last report, Navigating the way, it called for a national minimum entitlement to care, limiting the current postcode lottery, and the right to an assessment and advice on care for all pensioners, regardless of means or needs.

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