Over 50s lifestyle, holidays and financial services organisation Saga says in many respects the care funding issue has simply not progressed despite the plans tabled in the government’s White Paper.
“We’re disappointed by the delay, lack of detail and any figures. Overall, it seems like a lot of waiting just to be told that they are going to a Royal Commission - which they could easily ignore as they did with long term care in 1999 - to draw up proposals for a change in the system for 2015,” said Emma Soames, editor-at-large of Saga Magazine, and a trustee of the Saga Respite for Carers Trust.
“Our concern is that a change of government will herald yet more uncertainty, because the three main parties are so far apart in their views. While another Labour government will likely see this plan driven through, a Conservative government would inevitably result in a further review, and a Coalition could well yield further delays at the hand of political favour bargaining.
“Whilst we welcome the comprehensive model of care free at point of delivery, the question is whether it will survive post-election? The response from those who are likely to be affected – those needing care, and those providing care - is for Heaven’s sake, please chart a course and stick to it. If we know it’s going to uncomfortable, then at least we can prepare. But right now, we’re unclear as to what we need to prepare for.
“No proposal is going to sit well with everybody involved: the challenge is going to be convincing the affected population that it is not politically motivated, nor is any opposition to it politically inspired.”
Saga commissioned independent research company Populus to survey 11,500 older people to gauge their views on the provision of social care in the UK.
Only one in five (21%) of those surveyed preferred an insurance policy approach, paid throughout their working lives, to fund care should it be required. However, the alternative strategy of a one-off payment at retirement or death to pay for care equally lacks support: only 6% think long-term care should be funded this way.
Emma Soames, added: “Half of over-50s questioned (51%) were in favour of a system that would see the government provide a set standard of care for everybody, regardless of where they live, and which could be topped up by the individual if they wished. This also reflects the government’s own figures of 41% of the population in favour of the comprehensive model of funding.”
For more information please contact the Saga Press Office on 01303 771529.