28 August 2023

At a glance:

In this latest report, we find that the over 70s population is set to increase by more than double the rate of care workers – leading to a worrying gap in care needs.

  • Between now and 2035, while there will be a 0.87% year-on-year increase in the number of care workers, the over 70 year old population is set to increase by 2% year on year. The UK already has an ageing population, with around 18.6% of the population aged 65 and over. By 2043, nearly a quarter of the population are predicted to be over 65.
  • In its recent state of the nation report, The Care Quality Commission described the national care system as ‘gridlocked and unable to operate effectively’. It found a host of problems directly related to skills and staff shortages including 165,000 unfilled vacancies in adult social care. Alongside poor historical investment, bad management and insufficient resources, these problems have conspired to reduce care accessibility across the population.
  • According to Carers UK, by 2040 one in six workers will be forced to balance their job with informal caring responsibilities. In 2019, six million people had already given up working altogether to provide care, a 12% increase from 2013.
  • To solve the worrying gap in care needs, this report calls for the introduction of Long Term Care Centres (LTCCs) to be established with saunas, napping booths and cafes “where the elderly can enjoy a life of dignity.” The plan is modeled on the Buurtzorg model in the Netherlands which plays a central role in breaking the isolation in which relations of care currently take place by creating spaces for communities to co-create their health along with care professionals and public health services.
  • LTCCs provide a community-oriented ‘third space’ beyond the hospital and the home, organised to meet the multiple and overlapping needs of different kinds of carers and care-receivers.


Will Stronge

Phil Jones

Lukas Kikuchi

Luiz Garcia

Will Stronge, Director of Research at Autonomy, said:

“Our ageing population means more people require long term care but the number of care workers isn’t keeping pace.

“A social care system that is inaccessible to a growing proportion of the population not only harms those who need care, but it also puts pressure on family members to provide informal domestic care.

“To solve this worrying gap in care needs, we’re calling for the Government to invest in Long Term Care Centres to ensure the elderly and care workers can enjoy a life of dignity.”


Nadia Whittome, Labour MP for Nottingham East, said:

“These projections provide a stark warning but the Government can prepare now by properly investing in the care sector.

“During the pandemic, we saw how important care workers are but they continue to be under-valued.

“To ensure we can recruit the care workers this country needs, we have to make care work more attractive. The introduction of Long Term Care Centres and a £15 per hour minimum wage across the social care sector would be a good place to start.”