The Health and Social Care Committee has launched an inquiry into the UK’s social care funding gap.
The inquiry will seek to establish how much extra money would need to be spent by the government in each of the next five years to counteract the impact of a shortage of care on the NHS.
MPs will also consider shortages in the social care workforce and what solutions need to be found to address changes in the years ahead.
Jeremy Hunt, chair of the committee, said the longstanding care crisis comes with a huge cost to families and individuals who can’t get the social care they need.
“But it affects us all when a lack of availability prevents people leaving hospital, contributing to increased pressure on the NHS,” he added. “We’ll be establishing an agreed figure that represents the extra funding that’s needed in each of the next five years in order to fix this.”
Jennifer Gilchrist, protection specialist at Royal London, argued that it is vital that the social care crisis is tackled urgently and a solution is found to prevent people being hit with care bills of tens of thousands of pounds.
She suggested a “care pension” could work alongside income drawdown by allowing people to pay for care insurance out of their retirement pot.
“To make this work, the government would need to make sure payments into such policies were tax-free, and would need to introduce an overall cap on lifetime care costs,” she said. “With these changes, millions of people could start to build up protection against the risk of facing catastrophic care costs in later life.”