Pensioners to 'bear brunt' of cuts
Vulnerable pensioners are set to lose thousands of pounds worth of services every year as a result of swingeing public spending cuts, a charity has warned.
Independent research for Age UK - formerly Age Concern and Help the Aged - has found that the average household with someone over the age of 75 will lose £2,200 in support by 2014/15.
And the poorest pensioners will be hardest hit, facing an annual loss of services that equates to more than a third of their household income.
Age UK said the figures spark concern that the Government's cuts will be deeply regressive and could have a devastating impact on the vulnerable and frail.
Research was carried out for the charity by Tim Horton, from the think tank the Fabian Society and Howard Reed, director of research house Landman Economics.
Through modelling the impact of spending cuts they found that younger families with children and older pensioners will suffer most from the proposed slashing of public services.
In cash terms, the poorest over-75s will lose an average £2,030 worth of services by 2014/15 - equivalent to 33.7% of their household income. And economically deprived 65 to 74-year-olds will fare little better. Service cuts to the tune of £1,870 equate to 29% of their net income, the study suggests.
The charity is calling on the government to recognise that slashing the budget for services to the elderly would leave some the UK's most vulnerable people without the care they need.
Michelle Mitchell, charity director at Age UK said: "In such difficult economic times, it would be naive to assume that older people will be offered immunity from the government's spending cuts. But as people in later life are generally poorer and more dependent on public spending than other groups, they risk bearing the brunt of swingeing cuts unless government decisions are taken fairly and cautiously."
She added: "When the coalition entered the government it promised to safeguard age-related entitlements and protect the poorest and most vulnerable in society. With the lives of thousands of older people at risk if essential care services are cut, the Chancellor will not quickly be forgiven if he fails to support the oldest and frailest who rely on public services the most."