The UK’s Concerning Social Care Problem

A House of Lords select committee has urged the Government to immediately increase spending on social care by £8 billion in order to restore social care to acceptable standards.

The Economic Affairs Committee recently published its report ‘Social Care Funding: time to end a national scandal today’. The report makes a number of recommendations that need to be adopted to avoid social care from reaching catastrophic levels of service to those who need it most.

The report condemned the Government for publishing green paper suggestions without making definitive legislative changes through a white paper. Many within the social care sector have echoed these sentiments of frustration as the social care situation worsens due to depleting funding and resources.

The Lords report highlighted a funding shortfall in real terms of £700 million since 2009/10, despite a significant rise in the number of people looking to access social care services in the UK.

Additionally, more than 400,000 people have fallen out of the means test which has failed to increase along with inflation.

This means that record levels of people, unprepared for later life planning, are forced to access social care without governmental help and support.

According to a report compiled by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), nine in ten retirees will be faced with financial difficulties in later life because they have been unable to plan in their earlier life.

The report also suggests that more than a quarter of retirees will need to sell their home in order to fund social care costs in the future if the government fail to change the current system.

Over half (51%) are looking to their state pension to help fund their social care needs with fewer than a fifth (17%) able to rely on private insurance policies.

The ABI report has implored the Government to consider offering incentives for those that exceed the means tested savings threshold of £23,250 but have equity and savings of less than £200,000. It is claimed that this will account for 37% of people aged over 50.

Whilst many organisations have speculated on how to improve the current social care system, what remains clear is a lack of funding forcing people to change the way they use their assets in later life.

As more people are forced to use their home as a finance tool in later life, Willwriters and estate planning practitioners should be ready to deal with these issues in the present.

People over the age of 50-years-old are being forced to adapt the way they plan for the future. The Institute of Professional Willwriters (IPW) and Institute of Scottish Professional Willwriters (ISPW) are able to offer a number of relevant courses to ensure those working in the sector are proficient and prepared to deal with a changing climate.

The Willwriting Academy Ltd will be running a course on Advanced Will Trusts on the 10th December at the IBIS Styles Hotel in Birmingham. The course will look at advising on, considerations for, effects of and clause selection for Discretionary, Life Interests and Flexible Life Interest Trusts (FLITs) to ensure the client’s needs are met and the Will and the trust administration is effective.

As the landscape for later life planning changes, Institute members should ensure they are able to offer relevant advice to all older clients. The Advising the Elderly course, running on October 29th at the IBIS Styles Hotel in Birmingham, will equip delegates with the contemporary information on the care fees rules and ways of mitigating care fees whilst protecting property and savings.

The social care situation is concerning and it will impact the lives of many present and future clients, make sure you are prepared to help by accessing the Institute’s valuable Continual Professional Development opportunities.

This article was submitted to be published by the Institute of Professional Will Writers as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.

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