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Older people's care: Squaring the Circle

27 February 2017

A comprehensive report by Age UK adding to the debate about the long term viability of funding for the care of older people.

Briefing: Health and Social Care of Older People in England 2017  is a report by Age UK that brings together authoritative data from largely official sources.

The report outlines the significant challenges for Local Authorities in meeting their statutory obligations under the Care Act 2014 in the context of a rising population of adults over 65 with complex health and social car needs and cumulative reductions in adult social care funding.

  • The data indicates a huge socio-economic disparity in disability free life expectancy at 65 of 3 years for those in the poorest areas and 16.7 years for those in the most affluent areas.
  • There has been a real term cut in spending on older people social care of £160 million between 2010/11 and 2015/16.
  • Nearly 1.2 million people aged 65+ do not receive the help they need with essential services. 
  • Nearly 1 in 8 older people live with some unmet need.
  • Age UK estimates it would require £4.8 billion per year rising to £5.75 billion in 2020/21 to ensure the every older person who currently has one or more unmet needs has access to social care. At the same time local government spending is projected by 8.3 per cent between 2015/16 and 2019/20.
  • The number of informal carers has risen from 8.2 million in 2011 to over 9 million in 2015. Two million of those carers are over 65 and 417,000 aged 80 or over. 37% of those carers provide 20 or more hours care a week, while 34% provide 35 hours or more. However, nearly two thirds of older carers themselves have a health condition or disability rising to 76% for those who provide 20 or more hours care per week.
  • Analysis by Age UK indicates that societal, demographic and rising State pension age set alongside rapidly rising levels of unmet need means the provision of informal care has not been able to fill the gap left by declining provision of formal care services.

Austin Thornton of Wrigleys comments "The Age UK report is another important contribution to the debate about the long term viability of funding for the care of older people. It is not the evidence that is a matter of debate, it is the ability of policy makers to square the circle of an ageing population with rising needs against a background of austerity. Until that circle is squared Local Authorities will find it increasingly difficult to discharge their statutory duty to provide care and support under the Care Act."

Further reading

Briefing: Health and Social Care of Older People in England 2017



If you would like to discuss any aspect of this article and Wrigleys service further, please contact Austin Thornton on 0114 267 5588.

To keep up to date with further updates from the Wrigleys Health & Care team, you can follow on Twitter here

The information in this article is necessarily of a general nature. Specific advice should be sought for specific situations. If you have any queries or need any legal advice please feel free to contact Wrigleys Solicitors



Austin Thornton View Biography

Austin Thornton


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