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Age UK statement in response to the Spring Budget 2024

Published on 06 March 2024 03:46 PM

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said:

"Was that it?" This Budget was something of a non-event for older people, with very few announcements of much interest or relevance to them.

“The reductions in National Insurance (NI) will be welcomed by people in their fifties and early sixties who are in employment but do nothing for anyone working beyond their State Pension Age because they do not pay NI.  They can be forgiven for feeling hard done by as a result, especially since many of them are working in their late sixties and beyond not because they want to, but because they simply cannot afford to retire. Nor will it help retired people with modest pensions that take them over the tax threshold who will face an increase in income tax because personal allowances remain frozen.' 

“Age UK had called for the Household Support Fund to be continued beyond April, to help people of all ages struggling on low incomes, and we are pleased the Chancellor announced a six-month extension. However, six months is not long enough and, crucially, this leaves older people on low fixed incomes without recourse to this extra help through the winter months, when high energy bills provoke so much hardship and fear.

“The extra investment announced into the NHS is, of course, very welcome, but we are aware that funding for technical innovation within our health services often gets eaten up by the need to fund more immediate pressures - which are there in abundance for all to see. We deeply regret the lack of any further investment to help the NHS reduce waiting lists and support GPs to see more patients, more quickly, in the short term - the things older people often tell us they prioritise the most. And we understand that the picture for other public services, especially social care among other council services, remains incredibly bleak: on behalf of older people, disabled people and their unpaid carers we are sad the Budget did nothing to address this. 

“It’s really good that the Government eventually decided to implement the Triple Lock in full for the year beginning in April 2024, despite initially hesitating, and this will provide some precious reassurance and practical help for every older person of pensionable age. It may be that the Government decided that this was all that was needed, but at Age UK, given all we hear from older people who are struggling, that's not how we see it, and we suspect many members of our older population will feel likewise."



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Last updated: Mar 06 2024

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