A recent study by Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD) has shown that Local Authorities in England are spending less on care fees for the elderly as a result of budgeting cuts imposed by the Government. Whilst most other countries in Europe are increasing the amount they put into long term care fees as the population lives longer England is, in fact, reducing the amount that they put into the system relying instead on individuals to fund their own care. Emphasis has been put on targeting those with the means to pay thereby reducing the liability to the Local Authority.
Since 2008 spending on long-term care rose by 17% on average across Europe. In wealthier countries, it rose by as much as 26%.
Mark Pearson, a deputy director at the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), said the primary cause of care funding cuts was the commitment the Government has made to increasing the state pension through the "triple-lock" promise.
This protects pensioners' incomes by ensuring that state pensions rise in line with whichever is highest of household inflation, wage inflation or 2.5%.
"By committing to the triple lock the Government has had to make cuts elsewhere [to care]," Mr. Pearson said.
People with assets of over £23,250, including qualifying property, are currently expected to pay the costs of their care home fees. Such fees can vary depending on which part of the country in which you live. This means that sometimes people and their families have to dip significantly into their savings and even end up having to sell their home to pay for care costs.
People who do not have assets over £23,250 will have to apply to the government for their funding and they will then be subject to a means test. This can be a lengthy process, as the cash-strapped local authority are vigorous in their assessment process.
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