Queen announces landmark legislation for older people

We have repeatedly called for improvements to the pensions system and for urgent changes to the shambles that passes for our system of social care and today in the Queen’s Speech two of our proverbial buses arrived at once. The speech contained two pieces of landmark legislation: A Bill to simplify the legislative framework and funding of social care, and a Bill introducing a flat rate State Pension. Both these measures are very much welcomed by Age UK.

440x210_queens_speech_2012_copyright_uk_parliament_flickr_May2012Improving the care and support system in England is long overdue. The complexity of the legal framework, the raft of regulations to plug gaps and the confusion many people experience when trying to navigate the existing care system tells us that care and support need reform. The Care Bill is a vital part of the changes that are necessary. However the current and future funding of adult social care is likely to be the elephant in the room throughout the progress of this Bill. Social care funding has declined by £710 million in real terms since the Government came to power in 2010. This is at the same time as the population of over 85, who are most likely to need social care, continues to rise. Budgets are falling while demand is rising.

The Care Bill offers an ambitious and positive vision for the future of social care in which the system guarantees an individual’s wellbeing and protects them from unreasonable costs. But in the current funding climate this vision cannot be realised. The Government must address this shortfall in funding or they will undermine public confidence in the care system.

Age UK has also welcomed proposals for the single-tier pension which aim to introduce a fairer, simpler and sustainable state pension. An adequate state pension is critical to provide individuals who have limited ability to make any private provision with a decent income in retirement and to enable everyone to have certainty and clarity about what to expect from the state in retirement as a platform for saving.

The single-tier pension is not a solution to retirement saving in itself but will complement the recent introduction of automatic enrolment into a workplace pension including the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST). Together these reforms should ensure that people can achieve an adequate income in later life and make it easier to plan for retirement during their working life.

This does not mean that pensions provision is no longer in the spotlight. The amount proposed for the new single tier pension is just one per cent higher than the current amount that pensioners receive in Pension Credit. There are also a number of areas where we would like the government to clearly outline their intent on the face of the bill and where we feel more could be done to ensure particular groups of individuals are not penalised by the changes. We remain concerned that this bill does nothing for current pensioners including the 1.7 million who currently live in poverty who will not benefit from the changes in this legislation.

Find out what the Queen’s Speech means for older people

Read our Queen’s Speech parliamentary briefing

24 responses to “Queen announces landmark legislation for older people

  1. One diamond off the head of the Queen’s Crown, could no doubt keep a few pensioners warm, with good grub, for a few years. The entire proceedings round the Queens speech, is pretentious and ostentatious clap trap,

  2. i still dont see anything anywhere about how or what the criteria will be for gettiing housing benefit because if pensioners getting just that amount of money have to pay rent and council tax out of it they will be worse off. as it is the govt are/have been contemplating stopping free TV licenses for the over 75s (why?whats it to do with them?i understood that TV licence money went to the BBC to keep that running.in lieu of not using advertising.) bus passes and fuel allowance have also been mentioned as a possible withdrawal measure. etc probably other things like prescriptions will be next but shhhhhh nothing been mentioned about that ….so far.

    • Hugosmum, these changes wont affect existing pensioners. These changes are proposed for 2016 for future generations a non means tested £144 a week. But none of these changes matter because neither the Tories or the Lib-Dems will remain in Government after the next general election.

      • I APPRECIATE WHAT YOUR SAYING AND WASN’T ASKING FOR MYSELF TO BE HONEST. BUT 144 QUID A WEEK IS NOT GOING TO BE ENOUGH TO PAY RENT (MINES 76 QUID A WEEK FOR A HA BUNGALOW 1 BEDROOMED.), PAY COUNCIL TAX. BOTH AT FULL AMOUNTS, AND PAY FOR HEATING/LIGHTING, ETC, WATER RATES, FOOD TRANSPORT ETC SO ASSUMING THAT BY SOME FLUKE THEY DID GET BACK IN,GOD FORBID, HOW WILL HB/CTB BE CALCULATED?OR WILL THEY LAND UP PAYING IT ALL?

  3. Your right. Millions of tomorrows pensioners are going to be worse off than today’s pensioners.

    The problem is British apathy. We are sheep when it comes to politics,

    • i also think that so much is happening now, the govt have brought in so much bad legislation, affecting just about everyone in one or more ways, so fast, people are feeling lost in it all. dont know where to turn. in a lot of cases having all on to hold themselves.their families, body ,soul and home together they cant fight everything but if they fight one and ignore the others they’ll lose one of those things,each one as important to survival as the other.. some have given in as is well documented and lost the will to live.so taken the only way out as far as they could see, unable to see beyond their own misery. its like being told you have a new condition every 2/3 weeks. its overwhelming. (I know, that happened to me. i thought i was losing my mind with it all). for these people it must be 100 times worse. every waking thought has to be how will we survive today. this is what this govt aimed for.. to confuse the masses so they could heap their evil and vile ideas and legislation onto the citizens of Britain that dont come under the heading of RICH PERSON.

  4. Tell me, do you know why the State pension is so low ?

    • is that a question to me? if so.1 what has that to do with my point above? and 2 no i dont. i assume its because all benefits are low.to be honest pensioners are better off by far than those on unemployment benefit of £71 pr week or those carers on income support of the same amount plus whats left of the carers allowance which is means tested so they lose all but £20 of it. if a pensioners pension comes to less than £145.40 its made up to that amount by pension credit. those who are going to become pensioners from now on will actually get £1.40 less than that if its going to be a set amount for all of £144. and still nothing being said about how they are going to be expected to pay rent etc that at present comes under HB/CT etc.depending on your income. is pension credit being done away with altogether for those new pensioners?if so what will be the criteria for receiving HB/CT??i keep asking this question, so i can understand it all better. i was a benefits adviser myself years ago. old habits die hard. but i am sure there must be others who are soon to be pensioners who would like to know these answers too.

  5. btw how can you expect anyone to make an informed decision on what action to take if not in possession of the full facts.as for sheep…we would all be sheep if we were to follow those crying out for blood (or the equivalent) without first evaluating what we know our selves, evaluating whether we are fit/able enough to get involved. and evaluating thirdly whether we are in possession of all the facts we need to know.
    and remember. you are talking here of elderly people most of whom, would come off worse in a crush of people in a protest march. probably a good few too ill or infirm to do anything physical at all. short of signing petitions or writing to their MP (mine must be sick of seeing my name by now). we are not sheep. far from it. we just either dont know what to do or are doing all we can.just cos you dont see it doesn’t mean its not happening. yes there are a few who are out of their depth with all this.and are never going to be any different.or do anything.and quite a few more who aren’t bothered as long as it doesn’t affect them.once it does affect them, then they shout the loudest.

  6. Pingback: Speaking at the Global Investment Conference in London, Mr Osborne admitted he is delighted with the money saved by the move, which particularly penalises women. [ 499 comments] |

  7. hugosmum70 |, I asked you,, do you know why the state pension is too low ?. Also I have never been in favour of benefits, means tested or otherwise, for pensioners. What should be paid out is a much higher State pensions for today’s pensioners so they dont need to go cap in hand for benefits.

  8. michaelt100…………. and i answered you if you cared to read ALL my answers/messages………. i,e, is that a question to me? if so.1 what has that to do with my point above? and 2 no i dont. i assume its because all benefits are low.

  9. hugosmum, what precisely are you asking me ?…And your avoiding answering my question ie, do you know why the state pension is so low ?

    • you are making me angry SIR… I HAVE ANSWERED YOUR BLESSED QUESTION.WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE TALKING TO?IM NOT A SCHOOL PUPIL…………………..ONCE AGAIN AND FOR THE LAST TIME., MY ANSWER……… NO I DO NOT .I ASSUME ITS BECAUSE ALL BENEFITS ARE LOW.. NOW IF THATS NOT CLEAR ENOUGH FOR YOU TOO BAD. COS I AINT GONNA BE SPOKEN TO LIKE YOU ARE SPEAKING TO ME. if you dont know the answer yourself then go bloody find out.

  10. oh and you have avoided answering every question i have asked you,.
    1, what happens to new pensioners when this comes in re housing benefits,
    2 how will housing benefit and council tax benefit be worked out for them
    3.is pension credit being done away with altogether for those new pensioners?
    so you obviously font read things properly or you dont kniow and are so up your own ass you wont admit it.

    • Since the 80’s and Thatcher, Britain has been run on right wing low income tax trickle down economics. This is because the Tories and New Labour dont believe in the role of the State as investment and subsidy, the Tory’s are a low income tax small state party. This is why that which was included in the Queen’s speech was/is a farce. Because extra funding wont be made in this Parliament by this coalition.

  11. why have i now been put on moderation?its him being the pain,

  12. We think this debate has got a little out of hand now and – possibly – strayed off the original points.

    If you want specific answers to informational questions, can we suggest you try looking at our website. If we know the answers, they’ll be on there: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/money-matters/what-does-the-queens-speech-mean-for-us/ 🙂

    • thank you. the questions ive been asking about mainly (questions 1 & 2) were not on your website when i first asked about them a few weeks ago. they are there now and answer my queries admirably.as for what happened on this blog… i could only answer what i knew or say if i didnt. .i did the latter 3 times. at 70 years old i am not standing for being treated like a child. i am not senile.sorry for gettting angry with the man.

  13. When you have to use bad language, your argument is lost. The point is that hopefully the next Labour Government will reverse this new pensions policy. However if they dont,, millions of future pensioners, ie today’s youth will be worse off. This £144 a week for tomorrows pensioners is based on NI contributions paid in over 30 or 40 years I believe, therefore due to the high unemployment caused by the Tories free market agenda, millions of young people today, will have no State pension at all, when they are old and grey.

  14. AGE UK, The point is that this country needs long term secure jobs, and a universal basic state pension paid to all pensioners, now and in the future.

    And this issue needs the support of 60 million British people.

    Our pensioners have been left behind since Thatcher broke the earnings link, and nobody in the media is saying anything at all about this.

    That’s the point.

    • Hi Michael – our point was that this particular comment thread had got a bit out of hand.

      We just want people to have amicable debates – if they so choose – and, in this case, the amicability had started to disappear

  15. Hi Age/UK. Everything happening in my country today started over 30 years ago under the late Margaret Thatcher. The BBC media are right wing baised because old age poverty in this country since the 80’s has been buried by the media..I believe amicable debate is about all we can manage in this country, while the British people are like sheep when it comes to politics. Our pensioners have been forgotten.

  16. Let’s cut to the chase shall we?
    Let’s stop beating about the bush.
    There is more than enough money to feed the hungry and to give our elderly folk of pension age, a decent liveable pension.
    It makes my blood oil when I hear people going on about pension cuts, because of one reason and one reason only. Money is printed by the private banking cartel, they print as much as they want, when they want. Further more, all money is ‘debt’, the UK is bankrupt as is the USA.
    We, the UK that is, are slaves of the bankers, seeing that we are collateral for the UK government debt. Just research what your birth certificate is ‘really’ all about. Your birth certificate is a bond, you are worth thousands. And if you thought you were FREE and the UK was a democratic country, do the research.
    We all need to wake up and see the truth. Controlling the money, whether it be pensions, benefits, wages etc., is ALL about control, keeping us common people enslaved to our governments masters, ie: the criminal bankers.
    Iceland ousted their government and the bankers out of the country and now govern themselves.
    Wake up people, the truth is out there.
    Stop believing your governments lies and start demanding, that we print our own money and not use the money of war mongering bankers.

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