Socialist Worker

Report reveals state dumps elderly people

by Viv Smith
Issue No. 2259

The social care system is failing to provide support for older people.

A government-commissioned report into the funding crisis of the system admitted as much this week.

It calls for urgent action, including the capping of care costs at £35,000.

The Commission on Funding of Care and Support, chaired by economist Andrew Dilnot, states that the system is unfair, and that thousands of elderly people are abandoned by the state.

Age UK calls the report a “hard wake up call” and says that “state-provided social care is in crisis”.

It estimates that there are 800,000 older people who need care but do not receive it from the state—this will increase to one million by 2014.

This perhaps explains why the government response to the report has been uncertain—Dilnot estimates that the changes will cost them £1.7 billion a year to implement.

But there is another reason—the report exposes the lie at the heart of David Cameron’s “Big Society”.

It shows that, while the elderly and disabled want to live independently, this does not mean that they do not want or need state support to do so.

The Tories want to slash the welfare state.

They are destroying the NHS and slashing council budgets, claiming that the private sector will fill the gap.

But the failures of privatisation of care homes were made painfully obvious in recent months with the collapse of the Southern Cross firm.

Retirement

The government says people must save for retirement and ill health—but Age UK shows that less than 6 percent of people can afford to do this.

Government ministers and officials have said that the City could “help out” with care costs.

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said recently that if investors funded some of the cost up-front, they would be repaid later out of money saved.

Worryingly, this is echoed in the Dilnot Report.

Private equity investor Sir Ronnie Cohen predicted that such “social impact bonds” are “the wave of the future” and “the new venture capital”.

The scavengers in the City see this as an opportunity to make money.

It is frightening that the Tories want to hand the care of some of the most vulnerable people in society over to the banks and speculators.

It is another indictment of this rotten government that it should even consider abandoning elderly and vulnerable people.


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News
Tue 5 Jul 2011, 16:31 BST
Issue No. 2259
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