Britain’s biggest pensioners’ organisation, the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) has warned today’s Comprehensive Spending Review announcement on social care will do nothing to halt the collapse of the service on which hundreds of thousands of vulnerable older people rely.
Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary said: “The social care system has suffered £4.6bn worth of cuts since 2010 – and the Chancellor’s plan to allow local councils to raise additional spending will be nowhere near enough to address the problem.
“Already over one million older people no longer get the help they need at home, staff turnover is high, the quality of care is sometimes questionable and there is a distinct lack of dignity in the system for both staff and residents.
“Having local authorities tackle this fails to recognise the need for a national care service that raises standards across the board. Anyone associated with the care system will tell you that it simply cannot survive without major reform and all the chancellor has done today it put a sticking plaster over the problem.”
The NPC has also warned that whilst the basic state pension of £115.95 a week will rise next year in line with earnings of 2.9%, the state second pension and millions of occupational pensions that are tied to the CPI (Consumer Price Index) will effectively be frozen.
The only increase that pensioners will therefore receive next April is £3.35 a week for those on a full basic state pension, with many women getting around just £2. This does very little to address the rising costs of living that millions of older people face and the diminishing real value of their pensions.
Dot Gibson added: “We know that the new state pension that comes into force next April will mean anyone born after 1970 will get less than they would have done under the current system.
“Most of those retiring in the first few years of the new state pension will not get anywhere near £155 a week – so to call it a single-tier is completely wrong. In effect, the pensioners of tomorrow will have to work longer, pay more and get less than their predecessors. What we’re left with is a two-tier state pension system that no-one understands, fails to tackle the problem of pensioner poverty and is fundamentally unfair.”