5 March 2024

Campaign Focus: National social care service

Many of us will require some level of care when we get older.

Life expectancy has plateaued, and there are a growing number of people spending their later lives in poor or failing health. Within the next decade, the number of older people will have increased to 13 million, nearly a quarter of the population. Meanwhile, the number of years we can expect to spend in good health, without a disabling illness, continues to decline; this is now 62.4 years for men and 60.9 years for women. The need for better, more comprehensive care in later life continues to deepen.

This is why, as part of Later Life Ambitions we have included social care as a key focus within our manifesto.  It’s an area in which we’re campaigning strongly.

We are calling for: A National Social Care Service integrated with the National Health Service that remains free at the point of delivery.

Millions of older people don’t know how they will be cared for in old age. An Ipsos report found that the majority of the UK public were unaware that individuals are often responsible for paying for all or most of their own care. People who do not qualify for publicly funded social care must pay all of their care costs themselves. This has led to 143,000 older people facing ‘catastrophic lifetime costs’ of £100,000 or more.

This is not sustainable or fair, so we are calling for the UK Government to increase spending on adult social care in proportion to total public expenditure. We are also calling for a 10-year minimum spending commitment from the UK Government to meet the cost of social care, with a pledge to increase real terms expenditure significantly across this period.

In 2021, the UK Government announced the introduction of a long-awaited lifetime cap on social care costs, to be introduced in October 2023. However, with the postponement of this initiative to October 2025, there are fears that the cap may be dropped altogether, causing uncertainty for millions of care users and their loved ones who risk financial ruin. Nevertheless, we continue to campaign for an integrated care service free at the point of use.

For more information on the LLA Manifesto and our other campaign focuses visit: laterlifeambitions.co.uk


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