Age UK, the leading advocacy organisation for older people, says the Government needs to match intentions on social care with proper finance and planning.
The comments from the organisation, which unites two long-standing NGOs, Age Concern and Help the Aged, came in the wake of the coalition's much vaunted White paper, following on from the Dilnot Commission's findings.
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK said: “The policy proposals in the White Paper and the legal reforms are important and we warmly welcome them. Together, they have the potential to significantly improve the quality of care available and help create a care system that is fairer and more straightforward for older people and their families."
“But this potential cannot be fully realised until the Government faces up to and resolves the crucial issue of funding", she continued.
"More than a year on from the publication of the Dilnot Commission’s report, we are left asking just how strong the Government’s commitment is to implementing his two key recommendations: to raise the means-test threshold and to set a cap on costs. The Government’s commitment to the Dilnot approach in principle is an important milestone, but without a clear plan for how they intend to deliver on that commitment there are no guarantees the Dilnot recommendations will be put into action soon, or possibly even at all," declared Ms Mitchell.
“In the end, adequate funding will make or break the Government’s proposals, so we will be watching closely to make sure social care remains firmly on the Government’s agenda and is not marginalised during a comprehensive spending review that everyone expects to be tight.
“Sadly, the delay on a funding decision will undoubtedly have a devastating impact on those currently in need of care support today. There are already nearly 800,000 older people struggling to cope alone and that number is set to rise to one million by 2015.
"Many older people rely on social care to live with dignity and respect, and it is unfair to expect them to wait. Care reform and funding reform must go hand in hand and cross party political consensus must be achieved,” declared the Age UK chief.
* Age UK: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/