Households with people aged over 75 will lose £2,200 worth of services per year by 2015 because of government spending cuts, according to research published today by Age UK.
Cuts to social care services comprised most of the losses that the charity found would be suffered by older people, while the drop in service is equivalent to 14% of household income for over-75s.
Separate research by the council found that 500,000 older people will lose out on home-based care if expected cuts of 25% to council budgets from 2011-15 are announced in the comprehensive spending review, which chancellor George Osborne will publish on 20 October.
“When the coalition entered government it promised to safeguard age-related entitlements and protect the poorest and most vulnerable in society,” said Age UK charity director Michelle Mitchell. “With the lives of thousands of older people at risk if essential care services are cut, the chancellor will not quickly be forgiven if he fails to support the oldest and frailest who rely on public services the most.”
The research looked at all age groups within the population but found that the over-75s were hit hardest. Younger families were hit hard by cuts to education budgets but older people were most affected by cuts to social care spending.
Those aged 65-74 will also lose out on £1,870 of services by 2015, which the charity said was equivalent to one third of their household income.
Councils have already taken measures to brace themselves for cuts ahead of the results of the government’s comprehensive spending review on 20 October. Some have sought to increase the charges for social care services while other are increasing eligibility thresholds.
However, responding to the Age UK report, a Department of Health spokesperson said: “The funding of social care is being considered as part of the spending
review – it would be unhelpful to speculate before decisions have been taken, especially around the issue of support offered to those who are most vulnerable.
“The Department knows that urgent reform of the social care system is needed to ensure it is sustainable and fair. We’re already pressing ahead with a commission on the funding of care and support which will report back, within a year.”
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