Independent Age’s comments on the Autumn Statement, December 5th 2013

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In light of what George Osborne said in the Autumn Statement today,  Independent Age’s Chief Executive, Janet Morrison said:.

Energy bills

“In the year official records show us there were 31,000 excess winter deaths and older people have had to endure months of inflation-busting increases in gas and electricity bills, the Government has finally taken action. Independent Age welcomes immediate measures to reduce households’ fuel bills, but we strongly caution the Government against temporarily offering ‘sweeteners’, only to backtrack on energy efficiency measures over the long-term.

Up-front investment to sort out energy inefficient properties surely represents the most effective long-term means of reducing demand for fuel, and of course, customers’ bills. When Britain has some of the leakiest homes in Europe, and greater numbers of deaths in our older population that could and should have been prevented, we need a long-term plan to tackle these problems. It remains to be seen whether a £50 saving to household bills really amounts to a long-term solution.”

Health and social care:

“Heading off a ‘winter crisis’ in our hospitals is one thing, but what the Government really needs to address is the historic under-funding of council care and support.

800,000 people are being rationed out of the care system even though they have fundamental needs for support with washing, dressing and getting out. The current situation is unfair, but also unsustainable so we call on the Government to rethink its long-term vision for spending on social care. Just recycling money from one stretched part of the health and care system, for it to be parcelled out elsewhere won’t suffice.”

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