By Francesca James

The first step towards creating a sustainable care and support system for all adults, that puts individuals and their families at its heart, was unveiled today by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.

In setting out to Parliament the terms of reference for the Commission on the Funding of Care and Support, Andrew Lansley made clear that it will consider a range of funding ideas including both voluntary insurance and partnership schemes. The Commission will be chaired by Andrew Dilnot with two further commissioners, Lord Norman Warner and Dame Jo Williams and it and will report within a year.

The Commission will build on the extensive body of work that has already been done in this area and provide advice on how to implement the best option.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said:

“By 2026, the number of 85 year olds is projected to double. In the next 20 years we estimate that 1.7 million more people will have a potential care need than today. We know that one in five 65 year olds today will need care costing more than £50,000, which could force many to sell family homes. The answer is clear - we must develop a funding system for adult care and support that offers choice, is fair, provides value for money and is sustainable for the public finances in the long term.

“I want to build momentum on this reform and expect to see legislation in front of Parliament next year.

“I am delighted that Andrew Dilnot will chair the independent commission. I know Andrew will bring a powerful analysis, rigour and expertise to the debate.”

The Commission will examine and provide recommendations on:

­the best way to meet care and support costs as a partnership between individuals and the state;

­how an individual’s assets are protected against the cost of care;

how public funding for the care and support system can be best used to meet needs;

how to deliver the preferred option including implementation timescales and impact on local government.

Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said:

"Urgent reform of the social care system is at the top of our agenda. The current system is unsustainable - it cannot go on as it is. The country needs a new settlement for social care. Our first step to reaching a new settlement is to get the independent commission up and running.

"For too long social care reform has been a talking shop. Trade offs will have to be made but we are determined to build a funding system that is fair, affordable and sustainable."

Commission Chair Andrew Dilnot said:

"I am delighted to have been asked to Chair this Commission. How we best look after those who need care and support is one of the most pressing social policy challenges facing our society today. With more people living longer, we urgently need to find a fair and sustainable way to pay for the care which many of us will need.

“There are not going to be any easy answers, and I know difficult decisions will have to be made. However, I am looking forward to examining all the issues, and listening to the ideas of those who have been working on care and support over the past few years. This has been a hotly debated topic over recent months. It is now my job to consider the best way forward and offer concrete recommendations to Government."