Pre-Dilnot survey: only 16% of UK workers are saving for future care needs

Sunday 3 July 2011

Pre-Dilnot survey: only 16% of UK workers are saving for future care needs

RESULTS HIGHLIGHT JUST HOW VITAL IT IS THAT GOVERNMENT ACTS ON DILNOT RECOMMENDATIONS FACILITATE PRIVATE PROVISION FOR CARE

Just 16% of UK workers are saving to cover their care needs in later life, but 83% of them say saving for care is “very important”, confirming fears of an impending care catastrophe.

That was the finding of an independent poll conducted by YouGov on behalf of over-50s organisation Saga just days before the Commission on Care Funding, chaired by Andrew Dilnot, reports to Government.

"Our survey confirms there needs to be an urgent overhaul of the UK care funding system, with 52% of workers saving for their pension, but only 16% of workers saving anything for care." said Dr Ros Altmann, Director-General of over-50s group Saga.

"Even among the older age groups, who are increasingly at risk of needing care, very few people are saving for care, even though they believe it is important. About three times as many people in those age groups are saving for a pension than are saving for care, which is a clear indication of the failure of our current system to provide adequate resources to prepare for future care needs.

"The Survey results show that 50% of people aged 55-59 are saving for their pension, while only 19% are saving for care, and 48% of those aged 45-54 are saving for a pension, but only 13% of them are saving for care.

“Around 85 to 90% of people know that saving for a pension and saving for care needs in later life is important. So the awareness of the issue does exist.

“However, our current system has clearly encouraged pension saving, while offering no incentives to save for care - hence these results showing that far more people are saving for pensions than are saving for care. This is storing up enormous risks for the future.

“The Dilnot Report will recommend practical ways in which the private sector can help people provide for their care needs, with savings, insurance, equity release or other products. Currently, this is almost impossible and care funding is only addressed at the point of need. Being able to plan ahead for care would give millions of Britons peace of mind and it is vital that Government acts on the recommendations quickly to avoid a coming care catastrophe in our ageing population.

“Of course, saving is difficult for everyone in the current environment, but what these figures prove is that we need to help people to plan to cover their later life care needs.

“There is no requirement or incentive for employers to help fund care, the National Insurance system does not cover care and there are no good mass market financial products out there. It is clear we need better incentives to help people prepare for care in later life.

“So when Andrew Dilnot announces his recommendations that are aimed at freeing up the private sector to become engaged in care funding, the Government must act quickly to get this process underway. There are 21 million over-50s in the UK, they are the majority of voters and they need to know that the Government is going to deal with this issue now, rather than make positive noises and then fail to act decisively.

"This is a once-in-a-generation chance to improve care funding and sort out our broken system, we will be watching carefully to see that the Government does address this issue with the urgency it demands.

The survey showed that 91% of UK adults said it was important to save for a pension, and 83% said it was important to save for future care needs. The higher demographic groups are saving for their pension (43%) rather than any future care (19%), while very few of the lower demographic groups are saving for either pension (27%) or care (15%).

“The extent of the increasingly erupting pensions crisis in the UK is plain for everybody to see, so this Survey is clear confirmation that we’re heading for a care catastrophe of even greater relative magnitude unless real solutions are delivered,” said Dr Altmann.

“This is of massive concern at a time when the population of older people is escalating – the number of 85-year-olds doubling between 2005 and 2015 – and is a loud shot across the Government’s bows that we are heading for a care catastrophe potentially massively more impactful and crippling than the pensions crisis – but with an inestimable human cost. We must not fail to act.”

-ENDS-

For further information please contact the Saga Press Office on 01303 771529.

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