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Care charges risk leading older and disabled people into poverty, says new report
Wednesday 04 June 2008
Rising care charges are putting older and disabled people at risk of not being able to afford to eat, heat their homes, wash or get essential support, says a new report published today.
is backed by 18 major organisations that form the Coalition - representing disabled people, older people, people with long-term health conditions and carers.
Based on a snapshot survey, the report, ‘Charging into poverty?', reveals that rising charges for people to receive care in their own homes, are causing disabled and older people in England to reduce or even stop their support services.
The survey found that:
- 80% of people surveyed who no longer use care services say the charges contributed to their decision to stop their support.
- A fifth (22%) of people surveyed who are currently using support suggested they would stop if charges increased further.
- 29% of respondents do not feel their essential expenditure (related to impairment/health condition) is taken into account in financial assessments to pay charges.
- Nearly three quarters (72%) of people surveyed believe the Government should think about the charges people pay for support at home in adult care reform plans.
Since 1948 local authorities have been able to charge for care and support provided to help people remain living in their own home. Charging for care and support at home has become more common since the introduction of Community Care reforms in the early 1990s.
Responses to the survey show strong feelings of despair at the current situation and anxiety for the future:
‘I have a disability with which I was born. Perhaps the Government might consider...other areas before taking money from the most vulnerable members of society who are already living in the poverty zone'
Sue Bott, Chair of the Coalition on Charging and NCIL Director, says:
"Restricted access to social services and increased charges for support has had a huge impact on the day to day lives of disabled people, older people and their families. The shocking reality is that people needing support are being forced to choose between eating properly and using vital care services.
"The government must conduct a thorough review to fully understand the damage that rising care charges are having on people's lives and ensure the care reform green paper delivers a framework which ends the choice of food or care."
In May 2008 the Government launched a national debate on adult care reform in England in advance of a green paper. The Coalition on Charging is calling on Government to conduct a thorough review of the impact of care charges to be undertaken from 2008, and for these issues to be addressed in adult care reform in England.
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Notes to editor
For more information please contact Lucy Pile, firstname.lastname@example.org , 020 7696 6017
- 1) Copies of ‘Charging into poverty?' are available from: http://www.ncil.org.uk/
- 2) The survey for the report was undertaken online and in small focus groups between April and May 2008. Sixty-one individuals aged from 17-92 and 31 (mostly local) organisations responded to the survey. Copies of the surveys are available from email@example.com
- 3) The 18 Coalition on Charging members backing the report are (in alphabetical order): Action for Blind People, Age Concern, AIE, Alzheimer's Society, Arthritis Care, Carers UK, Counsel and Care, Disability Alliance, Help the Aged, Mencap, Mind, MS Society, NCIL, People First, Radar, Scope, Spinal Injuries Association, and UKDPC.
- 4) The Government launched the national debate on care reform on May 12th 2008: ‘The Case for Change - Why England needs a new care and support system' Department of Health.
- 5) Further research/evidence of the impact of charges on disabled people, older people and their families' lives are: 'Fair Enough?' Age Concern, 2004; 'The cost of care' Chetwynd et al, 1996; 'The Price is Right?' Audit Commission, 1999; 'Charging with care?' Audit Commission, 2000; and 'Care Contradictions: higher charges and fewer services' Counsel and Care, 2006 and 2007.