Elderly people who need social care should foot part of the bill so current standards can be maintained as costs soar over the next 15 years, according to a new study.

The report says a “partnership” model, whereby half of everyone’s care is paid for by the state, is the best option to bridge the funding gap.

The document says the new plan would cost £10.1bn in 2015 and £15.5bn in 2026

Under the plan, proposed by by the King’s Fund, the state would also top up every £2 spent by individuals with an extra £1.

King’s Fund acting chief executive Anna Dixon said: “The current social care system often falls short of meeting the needs of the people who rely on it and will not be able to cope with increasing demand for services as the population ages.”

The bill for social care is expected to reach £8.1bn in 2015 and will £12.1bn in 2026, according to the report.

And it estimates that costs will increase to £16.8bn by 2016 if a future government introduces universal free social care for the elderly.

The document, an update of the 2006 Wanless report, which also proposed a partnership model of funding, says the new plan would cost £10.1bn in 2015 and £15.5bn in 2026 - more than estimates for the current system - but it would also halve the number of people in need of care but unable to access it by 2015.

If the status quo were maintained, unmet need would continue to rise, it says.

The publication comes amid intense political debate about social care for the elderly.

Cross-party talks on the plans recently broke down over the issue of compulsory payments, which the Tories described as a “death tax”.

The King’s Fund argued for the partnership model but said whether contributions were voluntary or compulsory was a matter for further debate.

It said the proposal could be offset by reform of the attendance allowance, a non-means tested benefit to help pensioners meet additional costs associated with disability.