UK social care favours rich pensioners
Filed under: Your Rights
And as council fees ebb, the situation may get worse with only the very needy like to receive adequate support, some warn.
Need to know: Savings
"The most worrying aspect of the survey," claims Martin Green, Chief Executive of the English Community Care Association and Chair of the Care Providers Alliance, "is that many care providers believe that we are creating a two tier market, and this cannot be right in a society that should be advocating for fairness and equality of access to care services."
Cradle to grave?
Much of the problem is down to councils themselves. They decide how much funding is provided. But strained central and local government budgets coupled to rising costs plus profits pressure from care home providers themselves (and indirectly their shareholders) is an unhappy mix.
Care in crisisThis new report, canvassed from the National Care Forum and English Community Care Association, claims 60% of care home providers now expect to cut the amount of beds for council-funded residents.
And most who responded to the survey claimed there is a growing tension about how much money for social care is being currently put aside, and what quality of life social care residents can reasonably expect as a consequence.
By 2026 the Nuffield Trust claims the annual cost of funding care is likely to reach £3.6bn from its current £1.75bn because of an ageing UK population.
Cost cap?"This survey provides yet more evidence that our care system is in crisis," says Liz Kendall, Labour's Shadow Minister for Care and Older People. "More than £1 billion has been cut from local council budgets for older people's social care since the Tory-led Government came to power. Councils are being forced to pass on these cuts to care providers.
She adds: "This is having a devastating effect, with some of the most vulnerable people in society facing a two-tier service or being forced to pay more for care they desperately need."
Meanwhile many middle class care home residents are being charged in excess of £10,000 a year because of council cuts, some care home operators claim.
Currently the Dilnot report claims lifetime social care expenses should be capped at £35,000 and that council-funded home help should be given to everyone with less than £100,000 in assets. The current limit is £23,250.
"No-one is safe from the care crisis," says Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK said, "and it's only going to get worse if reform plans do not address the crucial funding problems of the current system."
"The Government has a last chance to get it right, setting their political legacy by reforming social care and support services for generations to come. It's time for the Government to be bold and produce a white paper that guarantees a national entitlement to care, better quality of services and most importantly a fairer way of funding social care services now and in the future."