Social care most important issue for voters
Published on 10 October 2012 09:00 AM
One in four people now consider care for older people the most important issue that will sway their vote, behind only the NHS and the economy, according to new research from Age UK.
Half the population also said they were 'extremely' or 'very' concerned about how they or their family would be looked after when they got older.
Only 2% of people said that they weren't at all bothered about how they'd be cared for in later life.
The research was carried out by ICM on behalf of Age UK and focussed on voters views in England, which indicate that social care is a major concern for around 19m people.
Ignore spending cuts
And in a clear riposte to the current public spending cuts, 8 in 10 of those polled said that the Government should put more money into paying for care.
In fact, only 25% of people think that older people are looked after properly in England.
Michelle Mitchell, director general of Age UK said: 'For too long successive governments have ignored the growing crisis in social care, partly because it was viewed as "too difficult" and there was a perception that they would not be rewarded for reforming the system at the ballot box.
'Social care has for years been the Cinderella of political priorities, hidden away and ignored.'
Funding social care
The Government published its Social Care White Paper in July 2012, announcing a series of widely-praised initiatives, but, crucially, not explaining how social care would be funded in future.
Michelle Mitchell said: 'Sorting out the care system to ensure that today's older people and those in future receive the help they need when they need it requires needs long term thinking, not just muddling through to the next election.'
Even though the Government commissioned the Dilnot Commission to look into the funding issues, and has agreed in principle with the recommendations published in July 2011, former care minister Paul Burstow said the Treasury was unsure about starting a plan.
Big issue for voters
The Age UK research also showed 3 in 4 people think the Government should do more around basic needs for older people, such as getting washed and getting out and seeing people.
Michelle Mitchell said: 'These polling results show that for that sizeable group of people this is an issue that they want the government to put high up the agenda.
'Social care is not a nice to have extra but a fundamental part of our country's value system, in which no-one should be left to struggle on alone when they desperately need help.'