Tag Archives: Age UK blog

More choice for pension savers, but will the products follow?

Scrabble pieces spelling 'ANNUITY'Last week George Osborne confirmed the Government’s intention to implement the surprise tax changes he announced in the Budget in March. At the same time the Government and the Financial Conduct Authority have set out more detail on what guidance will be available to people to help them make their choices at retirement.

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A denial of dignity

Older woman with carer

The European Court has ruled on a challenge brought by Elaine McDonald, a user of social care services in Kensington and Chelsea, regarding reductions to her care package which amounted to a denial of dignity. This ruling is the final stage in a series of cases that have included the UK Appeal Court and Supreme Court. Age UK intervened in the Supreme Court case.

At the heart of the dispute is the issue of whether someone who is not incontinent should be expected to wear incontinence pads rather than being assisted to use the toilet at night. Ms McDonald has argued that being required to do this is a breach of her human rights.

UK courts, including the Supreme Court, accepted that Kensington and Chelsea’s decision to remove night time care was unlawful in English law as it was implemented without carrying out a proper reassessment of need. However UK courts have not accepted that this involved a breach of human rights, or that the council acted unlawfully in withdrawing care once (a year after the initial decision) it finally completed an assessment. Continue reading

Campaign win: Government moves to protect older people’s human rights

Last week the Care Bill received royal assent. Let’s mark the occasion by reflecting on the successes that we have achieved, the changes to the social care system and the measures that will help older people with care needs to live with dignity.

One of the changes that is particularly positive was only agreed in the very final
stages of the parliamentary process. During the exciting-sounding ‘ping pong’ where the two Houses are required to agree each other’s changes to the Bill, a
Government amendment was accepted that closes a loophole in human rights law; a change that Age UK has campaigned for a number of years.

Currently, whether you are covered by the Human Rights Act when receiving care services depends on what that service is, how it is funded and who arranges it. Publicly funded or arranged residential care is covered. Privately arranged
and funded residential care is not. That means two people living in the same care home could have different levels of protection under the law. When it comes to domiciliary care, there is no direct coverage at all. This means that human rights abuses could be taking place with no option for redress. Continue reading

The Care Act

This blog was contributed by Angela Kitching, joint Head of Public Affairs, at Age UK

The Care Bill’s conclusion in May brought to an end years of reports, commissions and draft Bills intended to turn a patchwork system of social care legislation into an adequate legal underpinning.

As a result of these changes there should be real improvement, such as:

But this is not the end of the journey for social care – it must be the foundation on which improvements to the system as a whole are laid.

Critically, funding for social care now falls so far short of what is needed to meet demand that many of the provisions in the Care Act, such as support for carers or a system aiming to focus on aspiration rather than need.

These necessary aims cannot be realised unless more money is made available. Coupled with increasing numbers of older people and younger disabled adults needing care, politicians of all stripes must now take steps to adequately fund social care services.

In the long term without this investment, we will not save money, we will merely shunt costs onto emergency care services, more expensive types of residential care and onto overstretched family carers who may be forced to leave their jobs, possibly becoming ill themselves, in order to manage their family’s care crisis. Continue reading