East Cambs Greens launch social care pledge for over 65s
9 March 2015
Clive Semmens, Green Party General Election candidate for South East Cambridgeshire said
"The Green Party believes dignity is a human right and good social health is an essential part of this. Our proposals would give everyone access to a high standard of care, allowing them dignity and certainty rather than the worry and financial hardship that too many currently experience."
Key features of the Green Party's proposals are:
- An integrated health and social care service which is free at the point of use for every adult aged 65 and over
- The new system would be designed in consultation with experts, users and care workers
- Costed at £7 billion in 2015, the new policy would be paid for by new taxes on wealth and financial transactions and by cracking down on tax avoidance
Clive Semmens said
"The pressures of an increasing and ageing population are particularly acute in Cambridgeshire. None of us looks forward to the challenges that come from getting older. But this stark idea would seem much less scary if we knew when it came to it we could expect care based on dignity and respect for as long as we needed it, rather than relying on friends and relatives and worrying about cost."
"The current means tested system is unfair and wasteful. Valuable public resources, which would be better spent on descent care, are instead channelled into unnecessary bureaucracy while huge numbers of vulnerable people are left without the care they need."
Natalie Bennett, Leader, Green Party of England and Wales, said
"Providing Free Social Care for the Over 65's means security and freedom from fear, suffering and loneliness for many, and it means 200,000 new jobs and training places. We will consult experts, users, and care workers on its exact design – but our manifesto will include this as a core pledge: social care is not a privilege, it is a right."
The Green Party's new Social Care Policy was launched on 6 March 2015. Details available from the Green Party website.
- Office of National Statistics shows that in 2011, 14,307 people in East Cambridgeshire were 65 or older - an increase of 14 per cent since 2001
- Rising population means pressure of social care services in East Cambridgeshire is also predicted to increase significantly in coming years. The largest population band in East Cambridgeshire is 40-64, which constitutes over a third of the population with significant growth forecast 65-74 and 75+ age groups by 2031.
- Life expectancy in East Cambridgeshire has increased fast in recent years. It rose from 76.8 years (2000-02) to 81.8 years (2011-13). It now ranks as the 21st highest life expectancy out of 346 local authority areas in England and Wales - up from 148th in 2000-02.
- Services are under great pressure. Cambridgeshire is among the 87 percent of local authorities where only adults with the highest level of needs (assessed as 'substantial' or 'critical') receive financial support for their care.
- Budgets are falling. The children, families and adults (CFA) department of Cambridgeshire County Council intends to reduce its budget by £94 million over the next five years – losing a third of its total spending from 2013/14.
Across the country
- Councils spent £14.6 billion on adult social care in 2013/14. It is the biggest mandatory service councils provide and accounts for an increasing proportion of local government spending – 35 per cent (2014/15) compared to 30 per cent in 2010/11
- The National Audit Office reports that in 2011, 9 per cent of adults in England limited ‘a lot’ in day-to-day activities by illness, disability or old age
- Across the country an estimated 420,000 people live in care homes. As many as 1 in 3 pay for themselves at an average weekly cost in England of £574. A further 1.5 million rely on friends and family for support.
- From April 2016 it's proposed that the amount individuals will pay for care if they are 65 or over will be capped at £72,000
Further details and interview requests for Clive Semmens: Andrew Allen, East Cambridgeshire Green Party.
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