Commenting in response to Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg's speech on social care, King's Fund Chief Executive Niall Dickson said:

'We welcome Nick Clegg's speech which comes at a critical point in planning for how we fund the care and support needs for tens of thousands of older and disabled people and their carers in this country. It is enormously encouraging that all the main political parties are looking seriously at this issue and are prepared to consider radical alternatives to the deeply unpopular means-tested system.

'We welcome the party's support of a new funding system in England - one that combines a clear-cut entitlement to care and support with a sharing of costs between individuals and the state, and one that provides a safety net for the most vulnerable people. A system along these lines was set out in Sir Derek Wanless' review for the King's Fund on social care funding in 2006. Our analysis showed that this does appear a sensible, affordable and sustainable way of providing good social care for all.

'However, it's important that any new proposals are fully costed and affordable - there is a lot of work to be done to take the partnership model, or a variation of it, forward, not least in terms of reforming the benefits system and bringing it into line with any new system. While there is a lot more to be done, today's speech moves us another step closer to the political consensus that is needed to help us finally achieve the fair, effective and affordable system that is so necessary.'


1. For further information or interviews, please contact the King's Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2585, 020 7307 2632 or 020 7307 2581. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.

2. Securing Good Care for Older People: Taking a long-term view, the King's Fund commissioned report into the future of social care funding by Sir Derek Wanless, was published in March 2006. It is free to download.

3. The King's Fund was part of Caring Choices, a coalition of 15 organisations from across the long-term care system that sought to gather the views of older people, carers and others with direct experience of the system on how care should best be funded in the future. Throughout 2007, the coalition engaged with more than 700 individuals at a series of consultation events across England and Scotland and through an interactive website. The final report was published on 7 January 2008 and is available as a free download.

4. The King's Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through funding. We are a major resource to people working in health and social care, offering leadership development programmes; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.

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