Tax rises to cover the cost of caring for elderly and disabled people are being considered by the Welsh Government.
The money raised could be spent on abolishing care fees or on a pay rise for care workers.
A consultation on possible reforms to social care is due to start this summer, Welsh minister for health and social care Vaughn Gething confirmed in an update on the work of the Inter-Ministerial Group on Paying for Social Care.
Research commissioned by the Welsh Government suggests that an additional £1 billion could be needed just to maintain, not extend, current social care provision. He told ministers: “Our ambitions for social services in Wales are to keep pace with people’s needs and expectations. This will inevitably require additional resources and investment.”
“Providing just free personal care and accommodation in a care home is… well beyond our ability”, he admitted. “Therefore, our focus has been on developing funded options that are sustainable.”
The inter-ministerial group is exploring options around: the introduction of funded non-residential care; a contribution towards the cost of residential care for those who pay the most; and the provision of funded personal care for eligible people.
In response, Welsh Conservative Janet Finch-Saunders accused the Labour party of doing a U-turn on social care funding.