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England the poor relation in elderly care

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An Age UK commissioned report comparing approaches to long-term care has ranked England the ‘poor man’ in a range of developed countries.

The Incisive Health report, which has been prepared ahead of the government’s social care Green Paper, compares funding and outcomes in England, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Japan.

England was found to have a stricter means test than the other countries with people with assets at £23,250 or above having to pay all long-term costs.

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Tapered means tested support is available to those with savings and assets between £14,250 and £23,250, with those below the £14,250 threshold still expected to contribute to their care costs through their State Pension.

Other countries were found to have more progressive systems, either providing a non-means tested basic level of support (Germany), capping the  level of co-payment for all (at 10% in Japan) or using a more generous and gradual means test (France).

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said: “Sadly, this new report shows that England has been left behind in the race to update the funding of care for older people, compared to some other similar nations.

“As a result, our older people and their families are paying more and bearing a lot more of the risk of needing expensive long term care. What’s more, the freezing of thresholds and allowances in recent years has made our offer to older people in this country even stingier.”

Incisive Health founding partner Mike Birtwistle called on the government to “grasp the nettle of this challenge and propose a realistic and funded plan to address the immediate crisis, as well as delivering longer term reforms to ensure the fairness and sustainability of England’s social care system”.

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The author Lee Peart

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