Paul Burstow says the Government has committed to £7.2 billion extra spending on care over the four years to 2014/15, yet Saga says this figure is meaningless unless this money is protected and directed to be spent on care.
Dr Ros Altmann, Director General, Saga said: “This figure is little more than political spin unless the Government can promise that these funds will be used to address the care crisis with the urgency it demands. For those needing care now and their families, this crisis is of grave importance.
“As long as local councils are under financial pressure and our social care system relies on council spending, it will be impossible to ensure that the money is actually spent on the care that is so urgently needed.
“This important money allocated for care must be protected against being raided to shore up day to day council spending. Ministers have previously suggested that they cannot ring-fence council funds as it should be left to local authorities to decide how to spend the money, but this is no longer a valid argument since the Government announced a £5.2 billion increase in the public health budget which has been ring-fenced. Why should care funding be overlooked - the money is desperately needed now and decent care cannot be provided without adequate funding.
“Policy makers need to stop denying the care crisis and confront the serious reality.
“Furthermore, Saga believes that looking after older people in their own home could save significant amounts on spending. The Government should therefore prioritise a shift in emphasis away from acute hospitals and towards care in the home.
“We cannot expect people to plan for their care needs in future if the Government is unable to get its own plans right.”