Britain’s biggest pensioner organisation, the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) has described today’s changes to social care as “more window dressing than practical support for older people”.
Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary said: “The new Care Act which comes into force today is more window dressing than practical support for older people and their carers. What’s the use of having national criteria for accessing services when most local authorities only now offer support to those with the most severe needs? Help and support at a lower level is also vital to help prevent conditions getting worse, but £1.2bn worth of cuts to social care budgets in the last five years means this layer of support has simply disappeared for around 1 m older people across the country. People who used to get help with getting out of bed or having a bath are now left to fend for themselves, and much of this care falls on the shoulders of their family carers. What’s outrageous is that older people are not entitled to the carer’s allowance despite many of them offering around-the-clock care for their loved ones – at no cost to the state. The proposed £72,000 cap on care costs that comes into force next year has also been wrongly presented. It’s not a cap at all because individuals will still have to pay accommodation costs every year of up to £12,000, they will have to meet very strict criteria before they even get accepted as qualifying for the cap and the money the individual pays is not the amount that counts towards the cap anyway – it’s the amount the local council would be paying if they were funding your place. Our social care system is in crisis and nothing in these changes is going to improve that for the vast majority of people. Some might think it was an April Fool’s joke if it wasn’t so serious.”