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A history of social care funding reform in England: 1948 to 2023

This timeline was updated on 4 May 2023. It was previously updated in February 2022, October 2021 and September 2019 and originally published in 2017.

Adult social care in England – unlike health care – is not free at the point of use. Support from the state is reserved for those with both the highest level of need, and the lowest means. This means that many people have to fund their care needs themselves.

Since the 1990s, this has been widely seen to be unfair, and successive governments have attempted to reform the overall approach to funding adult social care. Here we outline the history of the past 75 years of attempts to reform how social care is funded.