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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

The future of social care


Jules Constantinou
Jules Constantinou

Just over a year ago, I was invited to sit on a panel of independent experts advising the UK government on the development of the social care green paper, and as I mentioned last month, this has been a big project for me. It is a great example of an opportunity for actuaries to step out of the shadows and contribute to one of the big questions facing society today. To coincide with the publication of the green paper, the IFoA has just released the first in our social care briefing series, The State of Play.

Social care in England is in crisis. An ageing population is placing unprecedented strain on demand and funding for social care. This is exacerbated by a lack of public understanding around who is responsible for meeting the costs of care. For many people, it’s not clear when funding will be met by the state and when the individual will be expected to bear the cost.

The actuarial profession is well-placed to offer a unique perspective on long-term funding solutions. We have a history of quantifying and managing long-term risk and assessing mortality and morbidity. Given that reform will need to address both current care needs and potential future needs, we want to emphasise that there is no one-size-fits all solution, and to spark debate on how the system can be funded fairly.

An ageing population will result in a shrinking tax base over the coming decades, and we would caution the government against asking younger generations to bear a disproportionate amount of costs for supporting future older generations. We would also ask the government to encourage individuals who can self-fund to make necessary provisions ahead of time. 

During the past year, one thing has become clear: there are no easy answers. #iamanactuary

Jules Constantinou is the president of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries

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