Social care  

Lawyers propose AE solution for social care crisis

Other recommendations included enforcing councils to plan and allocate land for retirement, care and nursing homes and to raise the eligibility criteria for support in paying for care.

Currently, if someone needing care has less than £23,250 of wealth, they’re eligible for local authority funding support, but Irwin Mitchell has called for this threshold to be reviewed.

Baroness Ros Altmann, former pensions minister, said: “Almost no-one has planned for long-term care. Despite growing numbers of frail, older people in our society, neither central nor local government has a sustainable plan to pay for care and there are no incentives for private individuals to set aside funds to meet later life care needs.

“Pensions are designed to support independent living, not the sharply higher costs of care. This important report uncovers many of the consequences. There are many aspects to this massive policy failure, which has been left unaddressed by successive governments for so long that there is no silver bullet solution.

“The sooner we all start planning for care, the better. There are measures families can take, but there are also important policy reforms which could help alleviate this crisis. The recommendations of this report should be taken seriously by government.”

Kelly Greig, head of later life planning at Irwin Mitchell, said the fact that the elderly care system could collapse at the end of this decade was a stark warning of what was to come and she warned government needs to address this issue in its upcoming Budget.

Ms Greig said: “It’s now been 10 years since funding levels for social care were adequate, and the cracks are turning into chasms. 

“A decade on we have less people eligible for funding support, more families taking on unpaid labour to look after their elderly loved ones and workers needing to save unsustainable levels of money into their pensions just to afford care in later life.

“We have a new majority government and the first post-Brexit budget coming up. While they have promised a cross-party solution we need a bold and fast-acting plan before it is too late. 

“The elderly care sector is already on its knees, and continuing to ignore the issue would be a disservice to the tens of millions of people that will be reaching old age in the next twenty years.”

amy.austin@ft.com

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