An ESRC research project modelling future trends for UK's ageing population proved pivotal in providing research evidence for the Government's reform of social care funding in England.

Impacts

  • The study's findings have been quoted in the House of Commons Health Committee, the Parliamentary All-Party Local Authority Group, and various Government reports.
  • Work on one part of the project (Informal care projections in key long-term care and informal care policy) has been cited by organisations ranging from OECD to Carers UK.
  • The research fed into policy debates on the reform of long-term care financing, which led to the establishment of the Commission on Funding of Care and Support (Dilnot Commission).
  • The Dilnot Commission was aware of MAP2030 findings and commissioned further analyses and projections to inform their work. Three members of the research team were appointed as members of the commission's academic panel.

"The report of the Commission, and by implication the research underpinning it, has undoubtedly changed the nature of the debate on this difficult issue. The contribution the MAP2030 researchers made was absolutely essential." (Andrew Dilnot, Chair of the Commission on Funding of Care and Support)

About the research

The MAP2030 (Modelling Ageing Populations to 2030) project has developed projection models to estimate future numbers of older people, their finances, health, family circumstances, social resources and care needs. The research team, led by Professor Michael Murphy, also looked at how changes in family circumstances may affect availability of care from family members, and whether older people will be able to meet their care costs.

Projections up to the year 2030 suggest that over the next 20 years the number of disabled older people will increase more rapidly than the overall increase in the older population. Demand for 'informal' care by adult children looking after elderly parents with disabilities is projected to rise faster than supply over the next 20 years.

The total expenditure on long-term care is projected to rise from around 1.6 per cent of GDP in 2007 to 2.7 per cent in 2032. Public expenditure on state pensions and related benefits is also projected to rise to 5.7 per cent of GDP - but up to 6.2 per cent if longevity improves substantially.

The research informed wider government thinking and policy in the areas of health, pension provision and family and long-term care. Findings have been used extensively by the UK Government in efforts to reform the funding of the social care system in England.

The authors submitted evidence to many different select committee papers and inquiries - including the Department of Health's Green Paper Paying for Long Term Care: Potential Reforms to Funding Long-term Care; the House of Commons Health Committee Inquiry on Social Care; the House of Lords Select Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change; and the Commission on Funding and Social Care.

The researchers also provided advice on informal care policy to the Québec Ministry for Families and the Elderly.