It’s been a week since the Chancellor announced his Budget and now that the dust has settled, it becomes clear that Britain’s elderly were to an extent spared much of the pain. In particular, the dreaded cuts to universal benefits that many had feared were not realised. In fact, lowering the cap on social care costs to £72,000 from April 2016 as proposed in the Budget constitutes a small improvement – if only a cosmetic one, as most people will still struggle to save up such a sum.
But while they might have been spared the worst, British seniors still feel deeply disconnected from the government and do not believe that it has their best interest at heart, as Stannah’s latest Silver Census reveals.
The survey paints the picture of a generation that is disenfranchised with government policies – and very conscious of the need for bolstered State support in the latter years of their retirement.
68% of those aged 65+ questioned by Stannah think that the government doesn’t have their best interests at heart or is disconnected from their generation, but when questioned, a majority of them expect the State to be their chief source of funding for future elderly care, far ahead of family, pensions or savings.
Respondents were dubious about government measures already introduced to ease the financial strain, with one in ten going so far as to say existing government policies are irrelevant to them.
The new flat rate pension scheme, due to be introduced in 2017, represents the biggest overhaul of the pension system for decades, but almost half questioned by Stannah believe it will have no impact, with one in five claiming this move will actually leave them worse off.
Overall, almost 40% of the over 65s fear they will not have enough money to live on in the latter years of their retirement, despite widespread efforts to make retirement planning easier. The recent Budget does not scratch the surface of managing these fundamental issues.
It becomes clear that even though the elderly might not have been hit as hard in the Budget as they may have expected, a lot more needs to be done to get this growing demographic engaged and more reassured about their future.