Reform of adult social care funding: developments since July 2019 (England)


Reforming the funding of adult social care, including how people pay for care, has been an issue for successive governments. This briefing provides a summary of developments in this area since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister in July 2019.




House of Commons Briefing


"In his first speech as Prime Minister on 24 July 2019, Boris Johnson stated that the Government would “fix the crisis in social care once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared to give every older person the dignity and security they deserve.”


Subsequently, the Conservative Party’s 2019 general election manifesto stated that a Conservative Government would seek a cross-party consensus in order to bring forward proposals for reform of how people pay for adult social care. It added that a prerequisite of the proposals will be that “no one needing care has to sell their home to pay for it.”

In January 2020, the Prime Minister stated that the Government would bring forward a plan “this year” and would “get it done within this Parliament.” However, the Government subsequently stated that it would not be possible to meet this timetable in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the Spending Review 2020, published on 25 November 2020, the Government stated that it was “committed to sustainable improvement of the adult social care system and will bring forward proposals next year.” This remains the current position, as most recently reiterated at the Queen’s Speech on 11 May 2021. The background briefing notes to the Queen’s Speech stated that “the Government “know there is more work to do so that everyone receives high-quality, joined-up care” and is “committed to improving the adult social care system and will bring forward proposals in 2021.”

Information on the funding of adult social care and how people currently pay for care is available in the following Library Briefings:

  • Adult Social Care Funding (England), 11 December 2020.

  • Social care: paying for care home places and domiciliary care (England), 8 July 2019.

Health and Care Bill

As set out in a White Paper published in February 2021, the Government is expected to introduce a Health and Care Bill during the current parliamentary session. This is expected to contain provisions related to adult social care, including concerning the integration and collaboration of health and social care services. However, the proposals do not address the wider funding of adult social care or how people pay for care. As such, this briefing only provides very brief information on the proposals contained in the White Paper (see section 2.9).


This briefing covers England only".


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