OPINION: They do it better overseas


Along with his welcome announcement of an extra £2bn for social care, Chancellor Philip Hammond has revealed the government will be publishing a Green Paper on the long term funding of social care.

This may be a case of déjà vu but is there anything new being considered by the government to finally address this long-running issue?

We know what the Green Paper will not include – the Chancellor dismissed the possibility of “Labour’s hated death tax”.

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Options that are being considered are thought to include tax free Cash ISAs, which could be used to top-up individual contributions to social care capped at £72,000 as under the Dilnot proposals.

Rumours abound, furthermore, that the government is looking abroad for a care financing model, with Japan and Germany very much thought to be in its sights.

With the world’s fastest ageing society, Japan has been at the vanguard of developing social care financing models.

Over 40s in Japan pay into an elderly care insurance system, with premiums calculated according to their income and where they live, with the over 65s having their payments deducted from their pensions.

In Germany, meanwhile, the number of people aged 67 or over is predicted to rise to 21.5m by 2040, up by 42% on 2013 with 2.9m in need of care in 2015, up 8.9% on 2013.

It too has a form of social care insurance made up of pay deductions which are matched by employers.

Almost three-quarters of those in need of care are looked after at home in a bid to save on costs with the care of people living with dementia heavily subsidised by the state.

While it remains to be seen, which model the government chooses, one thing is clear: we can learn a lot from other nations about taking a socially responsible, long-term attitude to caring for our elderly.

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The author Lee Peart

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