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Why should those who pay for care be penalised?

Published on 16 January 2014 12:01 AM

Why should older people who pay for their care be second class citizens?

Under strict embargo until 00.01 on 16 January 2014 

The Government try to remove the Care Bill amendment that provides equal Human Rights protection for all social care users.

A legal loophole means that older people who pay for their own care do not have the same protections under the Human Rights Act as those whose care is paid for by the state. In reality this means that anyone who pays for their own care in a care home, at home or who has state funded care via a contract with a third party and who experiences abuse or neglect has fewer rights than those whose residential care has been arranged by a public body, typically the local authority.

Age UK believes that everyone who needs care or support has the right to be treated with dignity and that all care providers should be promoting this right equally in the way they carry out their care. By making the law the same for all those providing care this is more likely to happen.

When the Care Bill was debated in the House of Lords last year the Lords voted for an amendment - Clause 48 - giving those who paid for care the same rights as those who receive State care. Now that the Care Bill has gone back to the House of Commons the Government want to scrap the amendment.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK says:

'Under the current system, two older people in the same care home can receive very different levels of protection under the Human Rights Act based solely on how their care has been arranged and paid for. This is not only fundamentally wrong, it means that if an older person who pays for their care is abused or suffers from neglect and poor care they have less legal redress than someone in the same unfortunate position whose care is funded by the State.

'175,000 older people in independent care homes pay for their own care in this country and it is appalling that they are second class citizens when it comes to the legal remedies available to them if they are abused or neglected. The House of Lords made the right decision when they decided to amend the Care Bill by closing the loophole once and for all and the Government should support their decision, not seek to overturn it.

'We are disappointed and surprised that the Government wants to keep this loophole intact because they have said they want to improve the position of older people who pay for their own care through this legislation. There is no better way to achieve this than by granting every older person equal access to legal redress if their care goes badly wrong.

'Age UK would ask everyone who agrees with us to sign our online petition asking the Government not to overturn Clause 48.'

- ENDS -


Media contact: Liz Fairweather
Tel: 020 3033 1718
Out-of-hours: 07071 243 243

Notes to editors

  1. Clause 48 followed the approach recommended by the Joint Committee of the Care Bill and would provide equal protection to all users of regulated social care regardless of where that care is or who provides it . The clause was inserted into the Care Bill at Report Stage in the House of Lords following a vote - tabled by Lord Low - that was passed by 247 votes to 218.
  2. It offers a simple, effective and lasting solution to this long standing problem. The Human Right Act can provide an essential safety net for social care users who find themselves in vulnerable situations 3. People who receive their care from a stated funded agency are also not protected by the Human Rights Act.
  3. To sign Age UK's petition go to or
  4. Figures from England, 2012/13 - Care of Elderly People UK Market Survey (Lang and Buisson, 2013). Residential and nursing care 43 per cent (175,000 people) of older residents of independent sector care homes were self-payers - 49 per cent (90,000 people) of older residents of all independent nursing homes were self-payers - 39 per cent (85,000 people) of older residents of all independent residential places were self-payers

Age UK

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 and our local Age UK partners in England (together the Age UK Family). 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).

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Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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