Response to announcements in Queen's Speech
Published on 08 May 2013 12:00 PM
Age UK's response to announcements in Queens Speech
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General at Age UK says:
'The legislation announced today in the Queen's Speech has the potential to transform our crumbling, unfair social care system for current and future generations of older people.
But to have any chance in succeeding we need to see the legislation twinned with a commitment in the spending review for increased spending on social care.
'Since this Government came to power, in real terms £710 million has been cut from social care spending, mostly as a consequence of the slashing of local authorities budgets at a time when need is rising due to our ageing population.
'In the vast majority of councils now, only those assessed as having substantial care needs are able to access the current system and, unless the Government sets the proposed national eligibility criteria at the equivalent of moderate, hundreds of thousands of people who cannot carry out everyday tasks such as washing, getting dressed, preparing food and laundry will be left without help.
'If people buy their own care in order to meet needs assessed as ‘moderate' this will not count towards the £72,000 cap introduced by the Government.
'People could be dissuaded from getting help at just the stage when social care support could make a real difference.
'Good care makes good sense. If older people get good quality care at home it helps them remain independent for much longer, helps keep them out of hospital and protects families from the pressures of caring.'
Single tier pensions
'Age UK supports the overall aims of the single tier pension but we are concerned the proposed amount is just one per cent higher than current Pension Credit level.
'The triple lock needs to be enshrined in legislation to ensure that future generations of pensioners are protected from the poverty that blighted so many previous generations.
'The single tier will help many women, but Age UK is particularly concerned about a small group of women who were relying on their husbands' NI record, but will lose out under new arrangements and face a worrying future because they do not have time to change their retirement plans.
'We are calling on the Government to protect this group, for example, allowing those within 15 years of State Pension Age to retain this right.
'The government also needs to be clear about the transitional protection for those who could end up with a lower overall income due to changes in means-tested benefits.
'And with 1.7m pensioners currently living in poverty the government must also set out plans to help current pensioners.'
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Media contact: Liz Fairweather/Vicky Smith
Tel: 020 3033 1718/3341
Out of hours: 07071 243 243
Notes to editors
For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office: Age Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.
Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life.
We provide free information, advice and support to over six million people; commercial products and services to well over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.
Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we"). Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).