England the “poor man” of the group of developed countries when it comes to funding care for older people.

A report commissioned by Age UK highlights the different approaches to long-term care across a group of countries in the developed world, and how they compare to the system in England.

The findings suggest that creating a sustainable social care system fit for a rapidly ageing population is a challenge in every one of these countries, which none has completely overcome. However most the countries reported have grasped the nettle and implemented significant reforms during the last 25 years. For example Germany began to modify the system in 1995 and Japan in 2000. Over the same period, despite two Government consultations, two official commissions, five Green and White Papers and one Act of Parliament, England’s system of means tested care funding is broadly unchanged.

It is notable that England has a stricter means test than the other countries examined in the report. England has a fixed means test limit for all long term care services, meaning anyone with savings or assets above £23,250 has to pay all the costs of their long term care (with tapered means tested support available to those with savings and assets between £23,250 and £14,250). Even those with savings and assets below £14,250 threshold will still be expected to pay a contribution towards the costs of their care through a deduction from their state pension. Other countries have more progressive systems, either providing a non means tested basic level of support (Germany), capping the level of co-payment for all (at 10% in Japan), or using a more generous and gradual means test (France).

  • The Legacy Yearbook 2019, correct as 21/11/2019

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