Thursday, 21 October 2010

Impacts Of The Spending Review For Over 50s

George Osborne promised that under the spending review, elderly people would no longer 'fall between the cracks' and many universal benefits were kept. With the spending review being published yesterday, has he remaind true to his word?

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director at Age UK, said: "Generally Age UK believes that this is a fair deal for older people... We are relieved that universal benefits such as winter fuel payments have been retained."We welcome the Department of Health's decision to find an extra £2bn for social care but at the moment it is unclear whether this will represent a rise in spending in real terms, given the swingeing cut of 26 per cent to government funding for councils. We are disappointed that the Chancellor has presented the entire amount as additional funding whereas it appears unlikely that this is the case.

"People at the end of their working lives will be disappointed that the rise in state pension age has been brought forward by six years as this will impact most on the poorest by shortening the retirements of those living in areas of low life expectancy. However we understand that difficult decisions have had to be made in the current climate."

Ros Altmann of Saga was, however, more critical of the impact on the over-50s. She said: "It will be vital for older people to be able to find work, otherwise they will lose out even more because the Pension Credit, which currently is paid from age 60, will not be paid till age 66 by 2020. That means any men or women who cannot find a job will be forced onto unemployment benefit, which is much less than the Pension Credit available now.
"We need urgent reforms of the labour market, ensuring an end to age discrimination and also making sure that the Government's initiatives for helping people back to work are focussed on older workers, not just the young.

"The most vulnerable are those over-50s who cannot find work, whose private pensions have not worked out or who have fallen victim to the vagaries and failures in the personal finance sector, as well as those who have mental health issues such as dementia. They will lose the option of claiming Pension Credit from age 60 and may be forced onto unemployment and disability benefits which are less generous."

Original Article: Channel 4 News

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