Report slams Government over social care funding

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Elderly people are unfairly carrying the burden of costly social care and getting a worse service than pensioners in other countries, a report has found.

Age UK said England is lagging behind other nations in the race to make sure social care provision is keeping up with demand from an ageing population.

Warnings have been made of a pressing need to bridge a £3.5bn funding gap facing crisis-hit social care services by 2025.

The report said that unless new measures are introduced to improve services and make sure they are fully funded, a forthcoming Government Green Paper on social will be a “failed exercise.”

Research carried out by consultancy firm Incisive Health on behalf of Age UK which looked at social care systems in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Japan found that England compares “rather badly”.

Age UK has criticised the the system of means testing people in England which sees anyone with savings or assets of more than £23,250 pay all the costs of their long-term care.

Age UK’s Charity Director Caroline Abrahams said: “Sadly, this new report shows that England has been left behind in the race to update the funding of care for older people, compared to some other similar nations.

“As a result, our older people and their families are paying more and bearing a lot more of the risk of needing expensive long-term care. The reality is that an entire generation of older people in England has lost out, given that Germany embarked on care funding reforms in 1995 and Japan in 2000.

“It is crucial that the forthcoming Social Care Green Paper isn’t yet another failed exercise.”

James Jamieson, Vice Chairman of the Local Government Association, said years of underfunding meant adult social care was at “breaking point”.

He said: “there is a pressing need to bridge a £3.5bn funding gap facing adult social care by 2025 just to maintain existing standards of care.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We have provided local authorities access to £9.4bn in dedicated social care funding over the last three years. Our green paper due in the autumn will set out our plans to reform the social care system to ensure it’s sustainable for the future.”

Meanwhile, a Government policy dubbed “the UK’s worst tax break” should be scrapped to help meet the cost of rising demand on the NHS, a separate report has said.

Thinktank the Resolution Foundation said scrapping Entrepreneur’s Relief would free up £2.7bn to spend on health.

The tax break was introduced in by the Labour Government in 2008 and caps the amount of capital gains tax paid by people selling companies.

Adam Corlett, Senior Economic Analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “The UK’s £2.7bn Entrepreneurs’ Relief is hugely expensive and overwhelmingly benefits a small number of wealthy individuals.