Coalition mid-term review is short on detail
Published on 08 January 2013 09:00 AM
The Coalition's mid-term review - delivered on Monday by David Cameron and Nick Clegg - had promised much for older people, but delivered little in the way of detail.
There had been widespread speculation that the speech from the Prime Minister and his deputy would include new information on reforms to the social care system and the state pension.
However, in the end there were no new announcements, although further statements were promised before the Budget on 20 March.
The two main areas of interest for older people were covered briefly...
The report stated: 'We have made it clear that we support [the Dilnot Commission's] principles' and it also repeated earlier announcements, including recent statements on establishing a ‘Friends and family' test to rate quality of care, and implementing a strategy ‘aimed at building a culture of compassionate care'.
Age UK's response
Commenting on the lack of new detail, Age UK said: 'We were for hoping for clarity and certainty about the Government's plans for helping with the costs of care and are deeply disappointed that we got neither today.
'Meanwhile the social care system is careering towards breaking point, starved of funds, with investment failing to keep pace with the growing needs of an ageing population.
'There is a urgent need to know for all those working in and cared for by the system when and how the Government plans to put the Dilnot reforms into action and ensure that all older people receive the care support that they need.'
Pensions and benefits
The Government repeated its commitment to protect key benefits for older people (including winter fuel payments, free bus travel and free TV licences) throughout this Parliament.
The report also says that the Coalition will be ‘working towards a better, simple, single basic pension, protecting pensioners against erosions in the value of their pensions and introducing a new system which will encourage young people to put aside enough money for their old age'.
However, there is no further detail on the single-tier state pension, and instead the report restates the Government's policy of ensuring that state pension age ‘reflects future changes in life expectancy'.
Age UK's response
As with the lack of new detail on social care and funding, Age UK has struck a slightly frustrated tone: 'Since the publication of the Green Paper on state pension reform back in April 2011, we have eagerly awaited further details on the flat rate, single-tier pension which would help simplify the current complex system.
'Yet despite today's announcement on the Coalition's future plans, we are still waiting for more information about one of the Government's key commitments to future pensioners.
'The Government must waste no further time in outlining its plans for state pension reform in the long-promised White Paper, so future pensioners know where they stand and can plan their retirement income.
The Government must not overlook the needs of current pensioners - 1.7million of whom are currently living in poverty.'