Age UK warns on effect of council cuts

Around 400,000 elderly people have lost the chance of free help to live at home over the past seven years, a report warned yesterday.

Tens of thousands of frail and vulnerable Britons have been pushed out of the shrinking circle of those who qualify for home assistance as councils cut spending, analysis from Age UK found.

The charity also warned of ‘care deserts’ where shortages of care suppliers and workers means it is impossible for people to find the help they need to live at home.

According to a report from Age UK, around 400,000 elderly people have lost the chance of free help to live at home over the past seven years (stock image)

According to a report from Age UK, around 400,000 elderly people have lost the chance of free help to live at home over the past seven years (stock image)

Its report said that since the mid-2000s, rules on the level of disability required to qualify for free care have been tightened so it is typically only available to those who ‘experience very significant difficulties in managing essential day to day tasks’.

Rules for councils say that anyone who qualifies for care on health grounds may still be asked to pay for at least some of it if their income is over 25 per cent higher than the level of Pension Guarantee Credit, the benefit paid to older people on low incomes. This means someone may be charged as long as they are left with £203.75 to live on – or £311 for a couple.

Age UK added that councils have cut spending on adult social care by 6 per cent since 2010, while the country’s over-85 population has actually risen by 6 per cent. This has meant that the average spend per adult has in fact fallen by 13 per cent, from £439 to £379, the report said. Other findings

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