Fifty thousand pensioners have been forced to sell their homes to pay for social care in the last year, despite a Government pledge that nobody would have to use their house to pay.
House of Commons library figures show that tens of thousands of older people have put their properties on the market to cover care costs, amid fears that the trend may continue because councils do not have enough money for social care.
It comes just days after ministers announced that local authorities will be allowed to hike council tax to try and plug the funding black hole which could increase bills by £90 next year.
Councils across England will be allowed to increase the social care precept element of the bill by an additional one per cent next year and the same in the year after, adding up to a six per cent hike by 2018/19.
The Conservative manifesto promised that older people would not be forced to sell their homes to pay for care and announced a £72,000 cap on how much pensioners would have to pay before the state takes over their bills.
Retirees who withdraw their pension pots in one lump sum could end up paying for their own long-term care, Prime Minister David Cameron has suggested.
During a speech in Brighton earlier this week, Cameron eased concerns that retirees would spend all their savings under looser drawdown rules announced in the Budget (PP Online, 19 March) and still fall back on the state for long-term care costs.
He said: “It’s deeply condescending to say to people who’ve worked hard, who’ve saved all their lives, who’ve been thinking about the future, ‘you can’t trust them to spend their own money because they’re irresponsible people’.
“They’re not irresponsible people; they’re responsible people. That’s why they saved in the first place.”
The Prime Minister went on to explain that the single tier pension of £140 per week will end means testing, and that the government cap individuals’ long-term care costs at £75,000 (PP Online, 4 July 2011).
He added: “It is lifting people out of the means test, so even if they do go and spend lots of money on certain things, they’re not going to be reliant on a means-tested system.
Our comment: a distorted logic here I think, if some people do blow their pension pot (and the experience in Australia suggests that some will, and which seems almost inevitable to us) what will they then pay for their long term care with ?
The Department of Health has been considering charging individuals huge sums for accommodation and bills in care homes, it was revealed
Economist Andrew Dilnot chaired a review of care fees and had recommended the Government charge closer to £25,000
Fears: The elderly would not have to sell their homes but could have to pay up to £100,000 if the fees cap is higher than recommended
The Government’s proposed ‘pay after you die’ solution to Britain’s care crisis could mean the elderly are forced to spend up to £100,000 on home fees – four times higher than the cap recommended by experts.
Britons would not be forced to sell their homes during their lifetime but the family they leave behind could suffer serious financial problems, critics said.
Ministers say their idea, announced today, allows the elderly to apply for Government-backed loans to fund their care fees.
Simply enabling elderly people to tend their garden could save the taxpayer as much as £11,000 a year per person, a landmark pilot study has found.
When Sarah Jackson, a horticulturalist, set up a small scheme finding volunteers to help older people who could no longer maintain their back garden on their own, she hoped it would also help keep them fit and active.
After three years she was able to point to a string of examples of people who had not only improved their lifestyle but also built new social networks helping prevent isolation and depression.
She was convinced that, as a result, they were making fewer visits to the doctor than they might otherwise have done and that it had even made them less likely to end up in hospital.
But now an official audit of the project – which involves just 46 older people in a single borough in south London – has concluded that it could have saved the taxpayer as much as £500,000 a year in just one area.
Our comment: Not sure we like the emphasis on the benefits to the the Governments tax coffers – yes we know most elderly people are taxpayers to, but it is the personal benefits that matter the most.
Hundreds of thousands of elderly people are being robbed of their dignity by England’s failing social care services and left at risk of “terrible abuse and neglect”, David Cameron has been warned.
An unprecedented coalition of more than 60 government advisers, charity directors and independent experts is demanding “urgent” and “fundamental” reform to care and home help services in England.
Thousands are forced to sell their homes and use up their savings to pay rising care bills each year, while businesses are losing experienced staff who are forced to quit to look after their relatives.
In a letter published in The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday, the experts say that a lack of “political leadership” must not be allowed to condemn 800,000 frail pensioners to a life of loneliness any longer.
Read more in The Telegraph
HUNDREDS of Hampshire workers and elderly residents face uncertainty as fears mount about the future of a healthcare giant.
Up to 840 staff work in 14 care homes run by Southern Cross Healthcare across the county which look after 600 people.
Union bosses fear huge job cuts and the prospect of elderly and infirm residents losing their homes after cash problems emerged and share prices plummeted.
Read more in The Daily Echo