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Policy-by-policy: How's coalition done so far?

BBC experts’ commentary.

SOCIAL ACTION

Original coalition agreement pledges:

  • Support the creation and expansion of mutuals, co-operatives, charities and social enterprises
  • Public sector workers to form co-operatives and take over delivery of services
  • Encourage volunteering and charitable giving
  • Introduce National Citizen Service
  • Found a Big Society bank to finance local charities and social enterprises

Care of the elderly: it's not too late to make Britain a good place in which to grow old

At this time of year as families gather, our thoughts turn to the nation’s elderly and how to provide for them fairly

 

The elderly need the cap on social care to be honoured and paid for fairly.

Over Christmas and New Year, families gather, take stock and compare notes. One family’s grandfather died after just retiring, but an elderly aunt, who has never taken any exercise, is living well into her 90s and racking up enormous care bills. It is never more obvious that life expectancy, even allowing for the inequalities of class, is still a roll of the dice. The healthy die of the unexpected, while the unhealthy can live well beyond their expected span.

Figures confirm the reality. You could be among the one in four people who, after they reach 65, will spend very little or nothing on their care before they die. Alternatively, you could be among the one in 10 with some endemic ailment who will spend more than £100,000 and, on current rules, be forced to sell your house to pay for the care. In an ageing society, this is beginning to become a politically hot issue.

Nor have the consequences of age and infirmity much to do with virtue, “striving” or your due deserts. If you have been dealt the wrong genes – dementia, say, or some crippling disability – you will be hit however virtuously you have lived, and the care costs could be explosive and long lasting. This is one of the brute hazards of life.

Care bills will soak up most of our savings

A rising number of elderly people face losing “almost all of their wealth” to pay for social care, after the Government admitted it was “unable to commit” to reforming the system.

By , Political Correspondent

In a stark assessment of the growing crisis in elderly care, a government report warns that the country may not be able to afford to fund a cap on care costs for a rapidly expanding ageing population.

The report, released this week, depicts a bleak picture of the future, with a growing number of pensioners slipping into poverty as they use up their savings to fund care and rely on friends and family for help. It lays bare the scale of the task facing ministers and will increase the pressure on David Cameron to address the issue.

An official review of the social care system published last year recommended that the Coalition should introduce a cap of £35,000 on the maximum amount that people have to pay towards a nursing home.

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