The Conservatives are considering insurance-based schemes to fund care for the elderly as a way to defuse the 'demographic time bomb'.

Shadow health minister Stephen O'Brien said paying for care was a "fundamental issue that faces our generation". He warned there was a lack of consumer awareness about different products and too few providers to establish competition.

Ageing demographic

But he said politicians had to address the problem because of the UK's ageing demographic profile. He added the current system was failing because it was penalising those who had "done the right thing" by accumulating assets and "not being a burden on the state".

He said: "It's difficult to make a saving against a contingency so it's more like an insurance product that we're looking at. We need to find a way to encourage the biggest possible pool [of people] to take part in underwriting and subscription to products."