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Homepage / Spending on the elderly – how should we interpret the numbers?

Spending on the elderly – how should we interpret the numbers?



Radio 4 yesterday morning presented figures collated from analysis by the BBC on how the spending in England per head on those over 65 has fallen by approximately 25% in real terms since 2010.

That caught my attention. On the face of it this is a huge decrease in spending!

But how should we interpret these figures. A response by the government stated that they had provided significant increases in support to councils for elderly care and they were planning to review funding for the future. This would suggest that the government, at least thought that this was a direct criticism of the amount of money being provided for care.

But is this the correct interpretation? One factor that should be considered is that with increased life expectancy, are people over 65 becoming more independent and less reliant on care? This has to be partly the case, otherwise we couldn’t keep raising the state retirement age.

So I am not claiming that funding for the elderly isn’t under pressure, because from evidence and the government’s own admissions it is, but if we are going to massage figures to take into account inflation, we should also think about the other factors at play here and not simply present the figures as if they speak for themselves.

Figures need to be reviewed and challenged.

Mike Bourne

Written By: Cranfield University

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