Budget 2017

Phillip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer

This blog post was contributed by Rob Henderson, Public Affairs Manager at Age UK. 

This was a challenging budget for the Chancellor to deliver. Over five months ago, the snap general election changed the political landscape beyond recognition: a very slim majority, a difficult economic outlook and with the shadow of Brexit over everything the government had little wiggle room.

For Age UK the focus for radical policy improvement and investment needed to be on the social care system. The Prime Minister made the case for social care reform in the Conservative party’s manifesto, making a commitment to ‘act where others have failed to lead’ and the Government’s recent announcement that it will release a Green Paper on social care in summer 2018 is welcome news. However, this budget was an opportunity to plug the gap that exists in the system right now, not kick the issue into the long grass.  Continue reading “Budget 2017”

Finally a focus on social care…?

440x210_care_home

As a Surrey resident working for Age UK, I felt quite confused and conflicted about how to vote in the prospective local referendum on a 15% council tax rise. On one hand, I really wasn’t happy about a huge hike in my bills but on the other hand through my work I am acutely aware of the enormous funding gap that has opened up in recent years between social care budgets and the growing number of people needing care and support. I felt grudgingly supportive of the leader of Surrey Council, David Hodge’s radical stance but not desperately keen on his solution.

Continue reading “Finally a focus on social care…?”

Social Care and Budget 2017

So the mood music in advance of the Budget was roughly correct: we have an emergency injection of funds to keep the social care show on the road plus a longer term Government review, in the form of a Green Paper, to develop a new sustainable funding approach. Whether the rescue package will turn out to be enough to persuade providers who are wobbling to stay in the market, or allow councils to do a better job at meeting rising demand over the next couple of years than they have over the last few remains however to be seen. Continue reading “Social Care and Budget 2017”

Lifetime ISAs – saving for the future?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne
The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne

George Osborne’s 8th Budget was presented as a ‘budget for the next generation’ acknowledging the hopeless situation too many young people find themselves in: struggling to find work, or being in work but struggling to earn enough to cover the daily costs of living. For these young people saving for a home is a priority that often feels like an unattainable ambition, so finding some spare money to put into a pension becomes an almost laughable pipe dream. Continue reading “Lifetime ISAs – saving for the future?”

The Budget 2015 – Age UK reaction

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne
The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne

The Chancellor, George Osborne, has this week announced the Budget for 2015/16. Mike Smith, joint Head of Public Affairs at Age UK, looks at how the Government’s proposals will affect older people. 

Yesterday afternoon the Chancellor, George Osborne, stepped up to the despatch box to deliver the final Budget of this Government. This was always going to be a highly political Budget, with one eye firmly focussed on the election which is now just seven 7 weeks away. At Age UK we were looking out for announcements most likely to impact on older people up and down the country, as well as what was ‘missing’ – proposals we have been calling for which may not have been included.

So what was the main announcement in the Budget affecting older people? The most significant budget announcements for many older people are the pensions reforms for those who have already taken out an annuity. This follows the radical reforms to private pensions set out in last year’s Budget. This time around, the Chancellor announced that from April next year pensioners who already have a pension annuity will be able to sell their annuity income to a third party. This is likely to be welcomed by many older people who have taken out an annuity and feel they may have missed out on the reforms which come into effect in April.  Continue reading “The Budget 2015 – Age UK reaction”

The Budget 2014 – a first take

Mervyn Kohler, Age UK’s External Affairs Adviser, looks at what the Budget means for savers, the social care system and our hopelessly energy-inefficient housing stock.

George OsborneIn its tone and delivery, the Budget speech sounded good news for pensioners, and there is much to applaud in the Government’s proposals.  But before getting carried away with enthusiasm it’s important to take a cool look at what we mean by ‘pensioners’.

Retired people with savings who have seen desperately poor returns on their investments will welcome the National Savings Pensioner Bond from next January, the simplification of ISAs and their raised savings limits.

Older people coming up to retirement can appreciate the proposed flexibilities around their pension savings, and the increases in the lump sums they are allowed to draw. But they must be careful to strike a balance between the resources they use to spend now, rather than fund their (hopefully) long lives at an appropriate level. Unfortunately these savings can only be used once! Continue reading “The Budget 2014 – a first take”

Spending Review 2013

Older people featured rather significantly in the public spending review to 2015/16. The Chancellor talked quite forcefully about the need to address the problems in social care, and in his consideration of welfare spending, he firmly identified state pensions as remaining outside his proposed new ‘cap’.

440x210_george-osborneThe landscape for the next Government is coming into view, but what does it mean for older people beyond the rhetoric? By 2016, of course, we should be implementing the legislation currently being debated in Parliament and have in place a new single tier state pension and a new social care regime – funded in part by the ideas proposed by Andrew Dilnot. The spending plans suggest that more money will be diverted from NHS budgets into programmes jointly commissioned with social care.   If this means more integrated care and a more ‘whole person’ approach, it will be welcome. But before we get there, local government will have taken another severe cut in its budget, and there is speculation that social care support may be prioritised only for those with critical needs. This means we will remain far away from the ambition to provide the appropriate care which promotes independence and prevents people from becoming substantially or critically in need of care. Continue reading “Spending Review 2013”