max temp: 12°C

min temp: 2°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Suffolk/Essex: Campaigners hit out at Hunt’s care costs reforms

12 February, 2013 - 12:00
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt

GROUPS representing older people in Suffolk and Essex have criticised the Government’s plans for the funding of social care, announced yesterday in the House of Commons.


Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt confirmed the “fully-funded” plan to cap at £75,000 the amount elderly people in England have to pay for social care.

There will also be a rise from £23,250 to £123,000 in the amount of assets people have before having to contribute to the costs of basic nursing care.

The plans, expected to cost about £1bn a year, will be part-funded by freezing the inheritance tax threshold - at £325,000 for individuals and £650,000 for couples - for three years from 2015.

Martyn Green, chief executive of Age UK Suffolk, said it was “disappointing” that the cap will be double that recommended in the Dilnot report, prepared by economist Andrew Dilnot who was asked to look at how to fund care reforms.

Mr Green said: “Age UK has always supported the need to see a cap on social care costs and the protection this offers to older people against limitless care costs, especially for those that have saved.

“It is disappointing though to hear that this cap is likely to be twice as high as the £35,000 suggested in the original Dilnot Report with a cap of £10,000 on so called ‘hotel costs’ for their board and lodging costs in care.”

He said he was encouraged by the raising of the “very low” means test figure, which would be of great benefit to many older people if it could be introduced immediately as many older people see their last savings disappearing into care costs.

He said that if the changes were not implemented until 2017 then hundreds of Suffolk-based older people would struggle to obtain the care they need over the next four years.

Barbara Williamson, chairman of the Colchester Pensioners’ Action Group, said the Government did not understand the financial pressures facing older people.

Mrs Williamson, 75, said: “It won’t make a lot of difference. How many properties are there that are below that price (£123,000) in this area? Not a lot, I think.

“I can’t see that it’s going to make a lot of difference at all - but I hope I’m wrong.”

Mrs Williamson said older people were seen as an “easy target” by the Government and called for more support for the many people struggling to make ends meet. She added: “We want to be treated with respect and for the state to acknowledge the benefit of older people to the economy and the amount of work which is done on a volunteer basis by older people.

“I guess a lot of them (MPs) don’t understand the way that older people are having to live and what it costs.

“The amount of pension that an older person gets is less than what the majority of MPs would spend on a night out and the amount per annum a pensioner gets is about how much MPs would spend on a holiday - and we have worked all our lives, the majority of us.”

Speaking in the Commons yesterday, Mr Hunt said the “historic” reforms would save thousands of people from having to sell their family home to pay for care.

He said: “We need to become a society where people prepare and plan for their social care costs as much as they prepare and plan for their pension. Sadly, this is an issue that governments of all colours have long failed to tackle.”



Grimwade street fire. Ipswich

Firefighters saved the life of a man when they rescued him from a Ipswich house blaze without wearing breathing apparatus.

Official opening of Chantry Academy. Head boy and girl, left to right, Ligita Lazdauskaite and Joshua Clarke.

Chantry Academy in Ipswich celebrated the grand opening of its new school building on Friday, as the school marks a “fresh start” from a difficult year.

The crash happened in High Street, Newmarket.

A man aged in his early 20s has been taken to hospital after the motorbike he was riding collided with a car in Newmarket.

Stock picture of a burglary.

Offenders forced open the front window in the living room of a property in a Suffolk village during a burglary.

Sergeant Ash Jackobs (31) from Felixstowe during 

Chefs from Colchester-based 16 Air Assault Brigade have been wild cooking to prepare for operations in tough environments.

Suffolk County Council's cabinet arrived at Elstree today - the home of the Star Wars franchise.

The day after county councillors discussed cutting millions from the authority’s budget over the next two years, its cabinet members are on a £4,000 training course at the world famous Elstree studios.

Nick Alexander, who died in the Bataclan massacre, in Paris, France. Photo: Foreign & Commonwealth Office/PA Wire.

The parents of Essex man Nick Alexander, killed in the Paris terror attacks two weeks’ ago, have released a statement ahead of a memorial service taking place in the French capital today.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the East Anglian Daily Times e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24