What does the Queen's speech mean for retired citizens?

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Age UK would like to see more age-friendly neighbourhoods and communities, which are safe, have good local services, facilities and open spaces and a strong social and civic fabric.

The Welfare Reform Bill is planned to replace the current complex system of benefits with a simpler system.

The Queen’s Speech took place in recent weeks, where the new Government set out its legislative programme for the next 18 months. Several of the new Bills announced by the Queen could have a significant positive impact on citizen’s lives.

Social care

One of the most significant parts of the Queen’s Speech is the announcement of a Social Care Commission to develop a sustainable structure of long-term care funding. Reform of social care is urgently needed, as the current system is starved of funding, serves too few people and can deliver care of poor quality.

Age UK is pleased that the Government has recognised the need for ongoing reform and is calling for the protection of existing national and local care budgets from cuts in the next emergency budget meeting. Any further cuts in social care would have devastating consequences on people’s lives and drive up demand for emergency healthcare.

Welfare reform

The Welfare Reform Bill is planned to replace the current complex system of benefits with a simpler system. Age UK wants to be sure that the new system does not punish people returning to work. It will also revise the current welfare to work programmes, which Age UK believes must be very inclusive to older workers and must involve a commitment to challenging ageism in the workplace.

Fuel poverty

The Energy Bill will give everyone access to energy efficiency measures to enable British citizens to reduce both energy bills and carbon emissions. Along with cutting fuel bills, the Government should tackle fuel poverty, which affects many of many in later life.

Health services

Retired people are higher users of public services, particularly health services, than other age groups. Consequently, the new Health Bill, which intends to create a better experience for patients, is likely to have a large impact.

Giving more power to doctors and patients is a welcome principle, but must be complemented by listening more to the voices of patients. The Bill will revise the incentives for GPs to make prevention a priority, which could have a genuinely transformative effect on those receiving treatment. Age UK is calling for a whole-system review of the way healthcare meets the needs of the ageing population.

Pensions

The proposed Pensions and Savings Bill will link the state pension to earnings from 2011, with a ‘triple guarantee’ that pensions will rise by the highest of prices, earnings or 2.5%.

This is great news for Age UK, but the company is concerned that increasing the speed of the rise in the State Pension Age will hit women and those on lower incomes hardest. There is still significant inequality in longevity, with the richest living longer, and this needs to be urgently addressed.

Age UK will work with the new Government to ensure that the programme announced in the Queen’s Speech will ensure a better later life for everyone.

Local communities

The devolution of powers to local authorities and communities through the Decentralisation and Localism Bill could be a great opportunity for those involved in local communities.

Age UK would like to see more age-friendly neighbourhoods and communities, which are safe, have good local services, facilities and open spaces and a strong social and civic fabric.

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