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Ensuring older people's living standards

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Whilst canvassing a common question has been concern over pensions and the care that older people receive. One very eloquent and wonderful lady I met in Knutton voiced these concerns quite strongly as she had cared for her mother who suffered from dementia. 

Her concerns are well founded as, according to the Labour party website, our social care system is close to collapse with 300,000 fewer older people getting vital care services compared to 2010, and many older people often receiving care visits limited to just 15 minutes — and provided by a workforce that is too often undervalued.

Here is how we will ensure older people’s living standards are protected, and that they get the care and support they deserve:

  • We will keep the triple-lock on the state pension so that pensioner incomes increase by inflation, earnings or 2.5 per cent, whichever is highest.
  • We will restrict winter fuel payments for the richest five per cent of pensioners but guarantee no changes beyond this — to the winter fuel payment, free TV licenses, or free bus passes.
  • We will reform the private pensions market so that all pension providers have a fiduciary duty to put savers first.
  • We will keep the flexibility over how to access your pension savings that came into place this April, but we need to ensure that savers get a good deal. That is why we will cap fees and charges in financial products that savers use to draw down their pension savings, and we will ensure that proper guidance is available to ensure that savers are not ripped off, or hit by scams and mis-selling.
  • We will end time-limited, 15-minute visits, introducing ‘year of care’ budgets to incentivise better care in the home.
  • We will recruit 5,000 new homecare workers — a new arm of the NHS — to help care for those with the greatest needs at home
  • We will create new rights to receive care in the home. Our plans include supporting more people to remain at home at the end of their life if they wish, including those who are terminally ill with the greatest care needs.
  • We will introduce a system of safety checks to identify risks facing vulnerable older people and enable preventative measures to be put in place, such as grab-rails to prevent falling.
  • Vulnerable older people, disabled people and those with complex needs will get a single point of contact for their care and a personal care plan designed with them and shaped around their needs.

To close here is a link to the wonderful Harry Leslie Smith, a campaigner and historian, speaking to the Labour Party conference about life before the welfare state.

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