From The Independent: Thousands of old and disabled people are at risk of losing vital support because long-term funding for adult social care has been neglected by successive governments, care chiefs have warned.
The BBC has taken the heavily-criticised decision to scrap free TV licences for pensioners, affecting 3.7m people. More than 250,000 people have now signed a petition demanding the elderly do not have to pay the £154.50 annual fee to watch television.
The BBC says that if it had to find the £750m shortfall elsewhere, it would have to cut four television channels and numerous local radio stations.
The man who first came up with the idea to make the BBC cover the cost of the free TV licences is Jeremy Hunt. Back in 2010, Mr Hunt was the Culture Secretary and in charge of negotiating the BBC’s new funding settlement.
LBC’s Political Editor Theo Usherwood has unearthed a report from the time by MPs, which revealed that at the start of the negotiations, Mr Hunt wanted to force the BBC to cover the cost of free TV licences for those aged 75 and over.
From The Guardian: The state pension age for women rises to 65 today to match men for the first time, reaching a milestone that has prompted warnings from campaigners that the pace of equalisation has left some female retirees facing poverty.
The equalisation of the state pension age at 65 is the first step towards a rise to 66 for both sexes in two years (October 2020), and a planned further increase to 67 starting from 2026. Another rise to 68 from 2039 was recommended by the official Cridland review this year, which will hit workers currently in their late 30s and early 40s.
The accelerated timetable for equalising then raising the state pension age has hit women especially hard, according to the campaign group Waspi (Women against state pension inequality), with about 3.8 million women born in the 1950s forced to wait up to an extra six years to receive a state pension.
In protests outside parliament last month, Waspi said a lack of sufficient information about the rise meant many women did not find out about it until they reached 60, leaving them with no time to make alternative plans.
The former pensions minister Ros Altmann said: “The state pension age may be equalising but there is no pensions equality for women.”
From The Independent: Senior Tory MP Sarah Wollaston, the chair of Commons Health and Social Care Committee, has condemned plans for a new “care Isa” to fund end of life treatment, arguing that it would only work for a “small minority of wealthy people” who can afford to invest.
From Daily Telegraph: Home-owning pensioners would be forced to pay up to £30,000 each as part of a radical plan to solve Britain’s care funding crisis under proposals being promoted by a former government minister.
[Read full article on Telegraph website…] [paywalled, but free registration allows access to one article per week]
From the Daily Mirror: Almost a million fewer pensioners are eligible for emergency cold weather payments than when the Tories took power, figures released in March show.
From the Daily Mirror: Tory cuts to pensions have left public sector workers an average £650 a year worse off, according to figures released by Labour.
From The Labour Party: New Labour analysis of figures obtained from the House of Commons Library reveals the numbers of older people living in areas with illegal levels of air pollution across England. The analysis reveals that over 7 million older people aged 60 and over lived in areas which breached legal pollution limits in 2015, including:
- 3.7 million people aged 70 and over
- 1.45 million people aged 80 and over
- 257,000 people aged 90 and over
In total, 56 per cent of all people aged 60 and over in England lived in an area which breached air quality limits for nitrogen dioxide in 2015.
Outside of London, Yorkshire & the Humber had the highest percentage of people aged 60 and over living in areas breaching air quality standards (79 per cent), followed by the North East (72 per cent), North West (67 per cent) and the West Midlands (62 per cent).
From Daily Mirror: A heckler on the Tory benches in the House of Commons made what Labour MPs described as an “ageist” and “inappropriate” joke while Mr Corbyn complained older people “aren’t receiving the care they need”.
“Economic murder”: Tory NHS and social care cuts linked to 120,000 needless deaths, conclude top researchers
From Daily Mirror: Tory NHS and social care cuts are “economic murder” and already 120,000 Brits have died needlessly since 2010, claim researchers at three top universities.
From The Independent: A Conservative minister has been accused of resurrecting the so-called “dementia tax”, claiming that taxpayers should not be “propping up” people to keep their own homes while they were generating significant social care costs.
What is dementia tax? Theresa May’s general election policy explained – and everything that’s wrong with it
From Daily Mirror: The Conservative Party’s manifesto plan to reform social care funding provoked a huge backlash, and has been dubbed the “dementia tax”. So why is it controversial, how will it work, and what will it mean for your family?
This video footage from a Theresa May press conference has been viewed over 3 million times on Facebook.
Theresa May destroyed over dementia tax
Posted by The Independent on Monday, May 22, 2017
From Financial Times: Theresa May is facing a growing Conservative backlash against her plans to reform funding for social care, with critics claiming she is introducing a “dementia tax” that could amount to a 100 per cent inheritance tax rate for core Tory voters.
[Read full article on Financial Times website…] (paywall, but free registration allows access to one article per month)
Blog article from Another Angry Voice: “The Tory Dementia Tax is surely one of the nastiest and most ill-conceived pieces of legislation to ever appear in a General Election manifesto.
“It just goes to show how arrogant and out of touch the Tory party are that they thought they could get away with announcing such a malicious scheme to asset strip elderly people for the ‘crime’ of developing dementia or serious physical disabilities in their old age after lifetimes of paying National Insurance and Council Tax to cover the cost of things like the NHS and social care.
“Setting the bar at £100,000 when the average property price in the UK is £215,000 is clearly a way of harvesting the wealth of middle income families.
“The poor won’t have to pay it because they won’t own their own homes. The very wealthy won’t have to pay it because they can pay for private care in their old age. So it’s just the middle who get asset stripped. The people who worked hard and saved to buy their own properties are the low-hanging fruit the Tories have identified. They’re the target this time.
“Dementia Tax is clearly an inheritance tax specifically to extract the wealth of middle income families as they get ill in their old age, so that the Tories can continue lavishing tax breaks on the super-rich and their corporate chums (like the £70 billion that the ongoing Tory corporation tax cuts are going to cost by 2020).
“Dementia Tax is a clear and demonstrable attack on the Tory party’s own core support.”
From ThisIsMoney.co.uk: The Tories will axe the ‘triple lock’ guarantee from 2020, meaning older people could eventually get smaller annual state pension rises if Theresa May wins the election.
The Conservative Party would switch to ‘double lock’ increases in three years’ time, so the state pension would no longer rise by a minimum of 2.5 per cent each year, but by whichever is the highest of inflation or annual earnings growth.
Labour and the Liberal Democrats have promised to keep the triple lock for the whole of the next parliament. But the newly-released Conservative manifesto says: ‘We will keep our promise to maintain the Triple Lock until 2020, and when it expires we will introduce a new Double Lock.
From The Guardian: More elderly people will have to pay for their own social care in the home and lose universal benefits under a new Conservative policy which, Theresa May will say, is difficult but necessary to tackle the crisis in funding.
Introducing the party’s election manifesto, the prime minister will say it is the “responsibility of leaders to be straight with people about the challenges ahead” as she unveils a controversial policy that would reduce the value of estates that many people hope to pass on to their children.
The policy will be a flagship measure in the Tories’ election manifesto, which the prime minister will pitch as a programme for solving some of the challenges facing Britain. It means wealthier people with more than £100,000 in assets will have to pay for their own elderly care out of the value of their homes, rather than relying on the council to cover the costs of visits by care workers.
From The Observer: Plans to ditch the triple lock on the basic state pension would represent a “double whammy” for the poorest pensioners, many of whom have already lost out under this month’s new flat-rate pension, according to a leading pension expert.
Pensioners who rely on the state pension for most of their income will be the biggest losers should the Tories drop the element of the triple lock that guarantees annual rises of at least 2.5%.
Chris Noon, a partner at leading pensions consultancy Hymans Robertson, said linking increases to earnings growth or inflation would, over time, erode the value of the pension and push larger numbers of people into poverty on reaching retirement age. He said: “The low paid were the community most negatively affected by the significant changes to the state pension introduced from April 2016. Removing the 2.5% minimum increase … is a double whammy that would again impact this community hardest over the medium to long term.”
The flat-rate state pension, worth £159.55 a week, combines the basic state pension with pension credit and the state second pension, which previously rewarded low-paid workers with generous top-up payments. Estimates put the savings at £8bn by the end of the parliament. Ending the triple lock would come on top of this cut.