As we approach the anniversary of the Care Act by Parliament, established to try and protect elderly people from having to pay unfair up-front fees for their care in old age, we are today witnessing a funding gap shortfall of around £4.25 billion being predicted by the year 2020 as a result of increased funding pressures on local authorities.
Today, older people who have assets of less than £23,250 may qualify for financial support from their local council to pay care home fees.
At present, families and friends can choose to “top up” this financial support to get a bit extra for their loved ones.
Local authorities have also a legal duty to ensure relatives and friends are not charged fees unfairly. Specifically the Act states that they should always be informed of changes in advance of charging to prevent such occurring and that all parties involved should have to agree before any introduction of this type of costing.
In a recent survey 43 per cent of councils did not comply with the test to deliver these requirements.
Thankfully, Nottinghamshire County Council covering the Mansfield area did, but that is merely so far. The financial pressures being placed upon them and other local authorities at the moment and up to 2020 make it likely they will not be able to continue meeting the criteria if Government continues to insist on clawing back essential funds from them.
More information on this matter can be gained from contacting “Independent Age” the campaigning charity organisation for supporting the aged of our society. Click here or visit their website www.independentage.org.uk
Sir Alan Meale