Chancellor hints at ending state pension triple lock, but says nothing about crisis in social care
Britain’s biggest pensioner organisation, the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) has raised concerns over the future of the state pension triple lock, following today’s Autumn Statement.
Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary said: When the Chancellor said ‘As we look ahead to the next Parliament, we will need to ensure we tackle the challenges of rising longevity and fiscal sustainability’ it’s clear that he intends to attack the state pension triple lock after 2020. Putting aside all the misinformation surrounding the triple lock – it will only offer a £3 a week rise next April and just £1.80 for millions of older women. The inadequacy of the state pension certainly won’t be solved by 2020 if this is how we intend to go on. Future generations are also going to become ever more reliant on the state pension for their income in retirement – so if we scrap the triple lock the state pension will wither on the vine like it did in the 1980s and they will be left with nothing.”
The Convention also expressed its surprise that the Chancellor did not address the current financial crisis affecting social care.
Dot Gibson added: “Since 2010, social care budgets have been cut by around £5bn. The system suffers from a postcode lottery of charges, limited access to services, badly paid and poorly trained staff, a lack of proper regulation, low standards, inadequate “flying” 15-minute visits and a lack of dignity for both staff and residents. But most importantly we know that there will be a £1.9bn funding gap next year, increasing to £2.3bn by 2019/20. Every week, we come across examples of how older people have been let down by the care system and now nearly 2m people no longer get the care they need. This is a real crisis and yet the Chancellor didn’t even mention it. It’s like social care has become the issue that dare not speak its name. Yet the general public, those involved in the care sector and older people and their families are way ahead of the politicians on this issue. They know the current system isn’t working and more of the same just isn’t going to solve anything. We need something bold to tackle the major problems facing the sector. Waiting until 2020, as the government has previously suggested, will effectively mean that older people are left to suffer for years and for some it will be too late. That is completely unacceptable.”