At Age UK we will be listening very carefully to the Queen’s Speech to see if social care is mentioned and, if it is, what precisely is said. We sincerely hope that an intention to bring forward proposals for consultation will be stated, signifying that this new Government intends to press on with the Green Paper that was already underway before the General Election campaign began.
Mobility, as Age UK is constantly arguing, is a key to social engagement and active ageing. Bus travel is getting better in terms of passenger information, but public services funding means bus services are frequently faltering, so using a car is often the only option. The good news is that cars are getting easier to drive, and wholly ‘autonomous’ cars are just over the horizon. Continue reading “Wholly automatic driving”
There were few surprises in this year’s Queen’s Speech which sets out the Government’s to do list for this parliament. As always, we await further details as the full Bills and proposals are published. A number of welcome plans were announced, mostly representing a continuation of promises made before the General Election –increasing investment into the NHS by £8bn a year by 2020, a seven-day NHS and increased integration of health and social care.
The Government also reconfirmed its manifesto commitment to maintain the triple lock for the basic state pension for the remainder of this Parliament, and to continue to protect Winter Fuel Payments, free bus passes, TV licences and free prescriptions for pensioners. Continue reading “Queen’s Speech 2015”
The changes to the private pensions system were the big announcements affecting older people in this year’s Queen’s Speech, bringing into effect the shake-up of the annuities regime that was announced in the Budget in March.
While these measures, if done properly, are very welcome, the Government missed a big opportunity to introduce legislation to protect more vulnerable older people from abuse, and to seriously address cold homes, which over a million older people are estimated to find themselves in every year.
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 Speechtwo 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.
Improving 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. Continue reading “Queen announces landmark legislation for older people”
The Autumn Statement announced bleak growth figures and more cuts ahead, reminding us all, once again, we face hard times and unprecedented and prolonged pressure on public services many of which older people rely.
This is why now, more than ever, we all need – the government, public, private, and voluntary sectors and individuals – to work together to meet the challenges and maximise the opportunities our growing ageing population presents.
Age UK, together with our national and local partners, is playing its part. In 2012 we reached over 7 million older people with our information and advice services, our handy person service visited nearly 14,000 homes and we helped more than 65,000 older people keep active and healthy through our Fit as a Fiddle programme. In tough economic times we understand supporting people in later life to make informed choices and maximise their wealth, health, independence and wellbeing is important for the individuals and helps drive down inefficient and unnecessary costs in our public services. Continue reading “Working together to support older people”