UK ill prepared to deal with the burden of an ageing population

The latest figures published by the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) revealed that future generations will have to work longer to pay off Britain’s debt as a result of a rising ageing population. To reduce Britain’s debt by two thirds, the State Pension Age for future generations will have to be raised to 70, along with further spending cuts.

The UK could face a debt of £1.4tn in 50 years should the State Pensions Age not be raised and other austerity measures not introduced. Experts have claimed that this increase, coupled with the decline in the number of those working and the ever growing need for social care, has led to a funding gap in health and social care services.

Only last week, the Local Government Association (LGA) warned the Government that a generation of elderly people needing care will face a “catastrophe” unless the Government addresses a £5.8 billion black hole in funding in local council funding – £1.9 billion of which is for social care alone. The LGA estimated that the growth in the elderly population has added £400 million a year to the council costs for adult social services. 30% of council budgets – nearly £15 billion a year – is spent on social care, and the LGA predicts that this will increase to 40% by 2020, putting pressure on other services.

While the Government has sought to give assurance that there is significant scope for councils to make sensible savings and cut waste, all evidence seems to suggest that the UK is ill prepared to deal with the burden of an ageing population. The report published by the Public Affairs Committee last week confirms just that.