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Issue Date:- 27 January 2009
HELP THE AGED PREDICTS A BLEAK FUTURE FOR ALL SHELTERED HOUSING
housing schemes across the country are having on-site wardens
removed while older people’s cries of protest are being ignored.
Leading older peoples charity Help the Aged has published a new
report, ‘Nobody’s Listening,’ which looks at the state of the
nation’s sheltered accommodation.
Research commissioned for the
report found that over the next 3 years 31% of sheltered housings
schemes will lose their on-site wardens and have them replaced with
a floating service. This will leave many older people who moved into
sheltered accommodation on the understanding they would have the
support of a warden, feeling let down and at possible risk of a
slower response to emergency calls.
The report outlines the accelerating decline in the availability of
sheltered accommodation which has fallen by 4% in the last 5 years
and is predicted to fall a further 7% in the next 3 years. Around
800,000 older people - 7% of the retired population - live in
sheltered and retirement housing but the Government’s plans to
remove ring-fenced funding risks seeing this sector withering away.
Joe Oldman, Senior Policy Officer for Help the Aged, says:-
“Older people are having services they rely on taken away without
warning or consultation. Many who moved into sheltered accommodation
are left stunned that such far-reaching changes can be made to their
services without their consent.
We have an ageing population
which will put increasing pressure on our care services. Modern
sheltered housing should have a key role to play in keeping people
independent for longer, but our research shows that traditional
sheltered housing is disappearing without a debate on what is best
for older people.
If the Government is serious about allowing older people to maintain
independence and dignity through their lives, Ministers needs to
address the decline in sheltered housing and the potential dilution
of preventative housing support services at a local level for those
with moderate needs.”
Help the Aged is calling for a robust consultation process to be
brought in, allowing older people to approve and participate in any
changes to the services they receive. Although floating support may
be a viable solution for some housing schemes, it should not be
imposed on people who rely on the support of an on-site warden.
The Government needs to fulfil the promise of extending preventative
support services across all types of housing, to the growing number
of people who wish to remain independent but lack the basic services
that make this possible. Government failures in this area will lead
to older people needing more expensive levels of care further down
the line as a consequence of the poor availability of early
grip some January settlements while wages overall continue to rise
are the most noticeable new trend in January’s settlements posted to
the Labour Research Department (LRD) Payline database. But these are
balanced by little movement in the levels of pay settlements
overall. The mid-point increase in settlements is still 3.5%.
Out of 73 settlements that have come into effect on or after 1
January 2009, 12 – or one in six – are pay freezes either for the
entire 2009 pay round or to be reviewed later in the year.
The number for January alone is 50% higher than the eight pay
freezes posted to Payline in the whole of 2008. A majority of the
freezes have occurred in the media sector, particularly local papers
and books. Others are in manufacturing, chemicals and finance.
But at the other end of the wage spectrum, 10 (one in seven) deals
in January were for increases of 5% or more, while the largest
number, that's just over a quarter (20 or 27%) – fell into the 4% to
“Pay freezes are the new element in pay trends but plenty of people
are still getting good increases and overall settlement levels have
not dropped off dramatically. Pay freezes may be being accepted by
unions as a way to preserve jobs, but they may also reflect
employers' desire to drive down costs with the recession as an
excuse.” said Lewis Emery, LRD’s pay and conditions
In an LRD survey of union reps’ bargaining predictions, conducted in
December 2008, 9% of union reps predicted or had been told to expect
pay freezes for 2009 across both public and private sectors.
However, the survey also found 17% of reps predicting pay rises of
higher than last year, and another 26% expecting similar deals to
2008’s pay round.
“The pay trends in January’s Payline database would seem to bear out
union reps’ predictions by showing a broader spread of deals ranging
from over 8% to zero. This suggests that the downturn is affecting
pay in various industrial sectors in very different ways.”
Payline registers pay and conditions settlements negotiated between
unions and employers across all sectors of the economy. It contains
around 2,300 agreements, and acts as a barometer for pay trends
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