Response to Government Spending Review
Published on 26 June 2013 02:30 PM
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26 June 2013
On funding social care Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General said:
"We are pleased that the Government has recognised the extent of the care crisis and in difficult economic times has decided to ease the burden on the health & social care system by investing in better integrated services. Age UK has long argued that poor social care results in avoidable additional costs to the NHS because of delayed discharges and preventable hospital admissions.
"This investment must reach frontline social care services if it is to make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable older people. Local authorities, who provide the lion's share of social care services, are facing budget cuts of another 10%, so the Government must ensure that today's announcement is not just used to plug the hole in council budgets.
Better integration between health and social care is the right approach, but the social care system is on the verge of collapse due to a perfect storm of an ageing population and local authority spending cuts. Whilst the population of over 85s has risen by 8% since 2010, £810 million less in real terms has been spent on social care services for older people."
In response to Government placing a cap on the AME budget which includes pensioner benefits, Michelle Mitchell, Age UK's Charity Director General, said
"Benefits such as pension credit and housing benefit are a vital lifeline to low income pensioners, providing millions of older people with an acceptable income level. Yet with 1.6 million older people living below the poverty line, any future cuts to these benefits will deal a sharp blow to the poorest and most vulnerable pensioners, who have very few options to increase their incomes, and are likely to increase pensioner poverty".
In response to Government plans to reduce winter fuel payments to older people living abroad, Michelle Mitchell, Age UK's Charity Director General, said: "The winter fuel payment is an important income boost for many people on a low state pension, providing a lifeline to many vulnerable older people and allowing them to worry less about their fuel bills. Winter fuel payments are simple to understand and generally do not need to be claimed, avoiding the complexity of means-testing. While the introduction of a temperature test could allay concerns about ex-pats in hot countries receiving the payment, it is important that proposals for change do not complicate the system or result in those in need losing out."
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.
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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).