Saga wholeheartedly supports the Care and Support Alliance lobby and demonstration today calling for MPs to back social care reform.
As the UKs largest provider of homecare, with 18,000 careworkers across the UK, Saga sees first-hand how damaging the current underfunding of social care is for those needing care, and for their families. Councils are cutting care and denying help to increasing numbers of older people. This is leaving them and their families exposed to unlimited and unfair costs.
Dr Ros Altmann, Saga’s Director General, says: “The current system is grossly unfair and almost impossible to understand. Depending on where you live and what type of care you need, you may have all your care paid for by the taxpayer - or none of it. There is a postcode lottery and a draconian means test which risks taking away all the assets that many middle Britons have managed to save during their lifetime. Those who never saved, never struggled with a mortgage so they could afford to buy a house and have hardly any money put by for their future will have their entire care costs covered by their council. But those who worked and saved through their lifetime have no help at all.
“This is so patently unfair, especially when the NHS will also cover care costs in full if one's later life infirmity happens to qualify as a 'healthcare' need. Such artificial distinctions merely prolong the current crisis and we absolutely must introduce proper and sustainable reforms.
“People can understand that they need to pay something for care but not that they have to lose everything. That is why a higher means test threshold and a cap on private costs makes much more sense and would leave us with a system that people can understand and respond to.
“Savings incentives for care could then help people prepare for care, and reforming the system would also allow people to pay for preventive and early intervention measures that are needed to avoid or reduce hospital admission and later life care needs.
“Let's get MPs to understand the political need to sort this issue out before it’s too late. With an ageing population and a system that is already in crisis, the time to act is now!”