Social care investment opportunity “Spurned”: Age UK Respond to Spring Budget
Published on 23 March 2023 10:24 AM
Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt revealed the government’s spring budget last week, which will come into effect from April 1st this year, and the national arm of Age UK have had their say.
Charity director for Age UK Caroline Abrahams, while acknowledges some of the positive points for older people – the extension of energy bills support till June, for one – is bitterly disappointed at the missed opportunity with regards to social care, stating:
“We are deeply frustrated that the Chancellor spurned the opportunity to invest more in social care, especially given his avowed aim of removing the barriers to work among those who are economically inactive. Every year many thousands of women and men of working age have to ditch their jobs to care for loved ones, in the absence of a good, reliable and affordable care service being available.”
The lack of action towards social care is especially disappointing, given the knock-on effect this will likely have on the NHS, with Hospitals and A&E departments coming under more pressure due to the failings in the care system. Abrahams continued;
“If we at Age UK are profoundly disappointed about the way social care has been ignored in this Budget, the NHS must be more disappointed still, since our health services simply cannot function effectively for as long as our social care services are falling so short of the mark.”
Elsewhere in the budget there was some good news for users of pre-payment energy meters as it has been announced that energy prices for the controversial top-up meters would be brought inline with charges on other meters. This is estimated to benefit over 600,000 older households.
While this is a good start, however, the changes to policy on pre-payment meters does not go far enough according to Abrahams who called for a stop to forced installations and an amnesty whereby people who wish to move away from a pre-payment meter can do so.
There was also some good news in the form of some encouraging first steps to encourage over 50’s back into the workplace, although again the Chancellor has been encouraged to go further with these measures. Age UK were also very pleased to see £100 earmarked for local charities, good news for Local Age UK’s like us here in Bolton.