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Over-75s risk losing the most from spending cuts

Published on 14 October 2010 04:00 PM

Cuts to the benefits and services that older people rely on the most could put half a million lives at risk, warns Age UK ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Amid increased evidence on how the predicted spending cuts could affect older people, Age UK is urging the Chancellor to honour his promise to protect society's poorest and most vulnerable.

Recent Age UK findings show:

  • If the spending cuts follow predictions, the poorest over-75s will lose an average of £2030 worth of public services a year by 2014/15, the equivalent to about a third (33.7%) of their household income. (1)
  • A funding gap of £2.2bn will open up in the next four years if social care spending is cut by 25 per cent; this would leave 500,000 of the most frail and vulnerable older people without the vital home-based care they rely on to stay safe and well. (2)
  • There is solid cross-generational consensus for protecting old age benefits, with three out of four people in favour of protecting older people's access to free NHS treatment, Winter Fuel Payment and Attendance and Disability Allowance. (3)

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director at Age UK, said,

'People over 75 are among those least able to protest against spending cuts, but the cuts could hit them the hardest.'

'Social care and support is not a "nice-to-have" extra.  Older people, and their loved ones, are rightly angry that the essential frontline services they have come to count on are at risk of being taken away.'

'George Osborne promised to protect society's most vulnerable from the worst of the cuts, but slashing social care budgets or old age benefits will impact precisely on the poorest, frailest and most isolated older people.'

- ENDS -

Case studies and spokespeople available for interview and filming in advance of 20 October and on 20 October - contact the Age UK Media Team on 0208 765 7439 or 7511.

Notes to editors

  1. Findings based on the report 'How the government's planned cuts will affect older people,' researched and written by Tim Horton, research director at the Fabian Society, and Howard Reed, director of Landman Economics. The research examined the overall impact of the proposed cuts to public services and the effect of tax and benefit changes announced in the emergency budget in June 2010.
  2. Findings based on LSE/University of Kent report, ‘The impact of a tightening fiscal situation on social care for older people' by Professor Julien Forder and Dr Jose-Luis Fernandez‚ published September 2010.
  3. The same proportion of older people and people of all ages agree that free NHS treatment (90%), Attendance and Disability Allowance (75%) and Winter Fuel Payment (72%/73% of the over-65s) should continue to be available to everyone regardless of their income. Fieldwork took place between 27 August and 5 September 2010. Ipsos MORI conducted 1,000 interviews a representative sample of adults in Great Britain aged 18+ by telephone, in addition we interviewed an extra 235 people aged 65+ to make 480 respondents aged 65+
  4. 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.

Media contact: Hong Ling Dyer
Tel: 020 8765 7511
Out of hours: 07071 243 243

Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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