Age UK comments on the Conservatives manifesto
Published on 13 April 2010 09:00 AM
In response to the Conservatives' manifesto published today‚ Michelle Mitchell‚ Age UK Charity Director said:
"Older people will be surprised to find the Conservatives have remained silent about the specific issues concerning older voters and shied away from tackling the challenges of an ageing society. There's much in their manifesto to encourage fit‚ active and engaged older people to contribute to society‚ but little new support for those who need help and protection.
"Voluntary insurance to pay for care at home‚ the possibility of abolishing the Default Retirement Age and the protection of existing age-related entitlements are modest steps forward. The Tories' manifesto fails to address the big challenges facing our ageing society on care‚ health‚ poverty and warm homes.
"The Conservatives today scored 5 out of 18 for progress against the key priorities outlined in Age UK's election manifesto."
What are the key commitments to older people the Conservatives have made in their manifesto?
In response to the following commitments‚ Michelle Mitchell said:
Health & Social Care
"Voluntary insurance to pay for care with the possibility of a top-up to cover the cost of home care is fine for the people who can afford it but falls well short of a solution to the funding crisis facing the care system. There are no new announcements to equip the NHS to cope with an ageing society."
Re-linking state pension with earnings
"The Conservatives' pledges to protect existing age-related entitlements and increase the basic state pension in line with rising living standards will provide reassurance‚ but the party failed to say when the earnings link will be restored.
"Fast-tracking the planned increase to state pension age to fund these pledges is not a viable option‚ as women and the poorest will be hit the hardest."
Reviewing the Default Retirement Age
"Hundreds of thousands of older workers who face forced retirement in the near future will welcome the Tories' pledge to ‘look at how to abolish the Default Retirement Age'. We now need a clear commitment to scrap this unfair and outdated piece of legislation."
The ‘Green Deal'
"Giving every household a loan to improve the energy efficiency of their home - paid off through savings on fuel bills - will not prioritise the millions of older people in fuel poverty. The manifesto lacks a clear and comprehensive strategy to address the worsening problem of fuel poverty and the rising number of winter deaths."
"We will oppose plans to replace the Human Rights Act with a UK Bill of Rights if this leads to any reduction in the level of protection currently afforded."
- ENDS -
Notes to Editors
New commitments in the Conservatives' manifesto:
- We will help stop the spread of means-testing by restoring the link between the basic state pension and average earnings‚ making it worthwhile for people to save (Conservative Party's manifesto‚ p12)
- We will reward those who have saved for their retirement by ending the effective obligation to buy an annuity at age 75 (ibid‚ p12)
- We will look at how to abolish the default retirement age‚ as many older people want to carry on working (ibid‚ p16)
- That is why we have made a pledge to pensioners to re-link the basic state pension to earnings‚ and protect: the winter fuel payment; free bus passes; free TV licences; disability living allowance and attendance allowance; and the pension credit (ibid‚ p42)
- We want to create a system which is based on choice and which rewards the hundreds of thousands of people who care for an elderly relative full-time. So we will allow anyone to protect their home from being sold to fund residential care costs by paying a one-off insurance premium that is entirely voluntary. Independent experts suggest this should cost around £8‚000. We will support older people to live independently at home and have access to the personal care they need. We will work to design a system where people can top up their premium - also voluntarily - to cover the costs of receiving care in their own home (ibid‚ p48)
- Rising energy costs hit families hard‚ so we will create a ‘Green Deal'‚ giving every home up to £6‚500 worth of energy improvement measures - with more for hard-to-treat homes - paid for out of savings made on fuel bills over 25 years (ibid‚ p93)
Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged. The Age UK family includes Age Scotland‚ Age Cymru and Age NI.
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