Author Archives: Age UK

Pension Schemes Bill entering final stages

Scrabble pieces spelling the work 'pension'

The Pension Schemes Bill has nearly completed its passage through Parliament, taking a step closer this week as Peers considered the Bill at its Report Stage in the Lords. As you’d expect, Age UK has taken a keen interest in this Bill, which is part of the Government’s wider ranging reforms to pensions announced by the Chancellor in the Budget last spring – the most significant changes to private pensions for over a generation.

From this April, there will be great flexibility, and greater choice for older people to access their retirement savings but with greater choice comes more responsibility, and potential complexity and risks, for older people making these important choices. Generally speaking, the pension reforms are a really welcome move giving those with pension savings approaching retirement freedom and greater options about how to access their money. However, with greater flexibility can also come greater risks for consumers. Continue reading

The devastating truth of the social care crisis

ID201148 Care Home A5 -6946

We all want the best for our parents and grandparents as they get older, and for ourselves when we reach our later years. In later life we might need a bit of help doing some of the things we take for granted when we are younger, and some older people need support with everyday things like going to the toilet, washing and preparing meals.

In a shocking analysis just released by Age UK, we see a social care system in deep decline. Despite rising numbers of older people, and growing demand for social care support, the amount spent on social care services for older people has fallen in England by £1.1 billion since 2010/11.

The sad reality behind the front doors to many homes is that every day hundreds of thousands of older people are left to battle on alone. Continue reading

Taking on malnutrition across the UK

HERO-fruit and veg buyers

This week we have a blog from the Malnutrition Task Force 

When you mention the word ‘malnutrition,’ many assume it is something that only happens in other countries and has been consigned to the history books in the UK.

Yet this is far from the truth.

Figures from BAPEN show 3 million people in the UK are malnourished or at risk of  malnutrition and that a high number of these, around 1.3 million, are over the age of 65.

To combat this issue, the Malnutrition Task Force has bought together professionals from across health, social care and local government to work alongside charities, older people and carers to pilot a new approach.

The Malnutrition Prevention Programme sees whole communities – including local NHS trusts, hospitals, GP practices, care homes and community groups – coming together to tackle the condition. Our aim is to significantly reduce the number of people aged 65 and over in different areas across the country who are malnourished. Continue reading

A political certainty in 2015? From Localism to Devolution

This week we have a blog post from Mervyn Kohler, Special Adviser, at Age UK. 

Even before the Scottish referendum campaign, there was a growing surge of interest in more devolution. It is a theme supported by all of the political parties. It is presented as the most promising way to get appropriate policies and practices implemented across areas and communities with widely varying needs, and also as a key to local economic regeneration and growth.

The early days of the Coalition were characterised by an enthusiasm for localism and the Big Society, and the burst of legislative activity linked to this was in some respects the harbinger of the deeper devolution idea. Conservative distain for ‘big government’ and Liberal instincts for local democracy came together serendipitously.   We had local government given a ‘general power of competence’, and neighbourhoods were empowered to develop local plans (to address spatial planning and planning permission issues) and eventually to draw up neighbourhood or community budgets. We have the Community Right to Challenge (for the delivery of public services), the Community Right to Build (if approved by a local referendum), and the Right to Bid for community assets. Continue reading