EX­PERT VIEW

Gov­ern­ment must rise to the chal­lenge and act now

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - NEWS -

OUR coun­try’s care cri­sis is get­ting deeper by the day. The lat­est shock­ing fig­ures, show­ing the sharp rise in care home costs last year, are fur­ther proof of the ever-in­creas­ing bur­den on those who need look­ing after in old age.

Many fam­i­lies are al­ready stretched and strug­gling.

Older peo­ple who own their home face los­ing al­most all its worth if they have no other sav­ings to fund long-term care. Most peo­ple be­lieve the NHS will care for them if they are too ill to look after them­selves. This is not the case.

Gov­ern­ment after gov­ern­ment has failed to rise to this chal­lenge.

The costs in­volved are enor­mous and no money at all has been ear­marked to help pay for care.

Un­like Na­tional In­sur­ance State Pen­sions, there is no ba­sic state­funded care, un­til you have used up al­most all your sav­ings.

Time and again, politi­cians have kicked this is­sue into the long grass, while try­ing to hide the re­al­ity from the pop­u­la­tion.

There are no in­cen­tives to save for care. Noth­ing to en­cour­age you to keep ISAS, or some of your pen­sions, for much later in life, just in case. This cri­sis will keep get­ting worse un­til the Gov­ern­ment in­tro­duces proper re­form.

Rather than an­other Green or White Pa­per, ur­gent mea­sures should be in­tro­duced in this Bud­get. The longer we leave it, the more el­derly cit­i­zens and their fam­i­lies will suf­fer.

Let’s not wait any longer – the time to act is now.

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