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Meeting our Responsibilities to the Elderly and Disabled

The voluntary sector would probably collapse without the help and support of those in later life, and the disabled have overcome challenges most of us could not even imagine, yet the Conservative government has treated both badly. UKIP will reverse cuts to the adult social care budget and end humiliating work capability tests for disabled people
How we respond to older people is an indication of the kind of country we live in. We should take pride in making public investment into their care, regardless of their financial means.  
UKIP remains committed to keeping the winter fuel allowance, free bus passes, prescriptions and eye tests for all over-60s, without means testing. We will maintain the ‘triple lock’ on the state pension, increasing it every year by the highest of inflation, average earnings, or 2.5 per cent.
SECURE FINANCES AND WORTHWHILE WORK FOR OLDER PEOPLE  Age UK says older people contribute around £61 billion to the economy each year through work, caring and volunteering. Advancing age does not necessarily mean people want to stop earning, and their wisdom and experience should be seen as an advantage in the workplace. 
We will encourage businesses to fund job placements for older people, and enforce laws protecting workers against age discrimination.
GROWING OLD TOGETHER As a population, we are living longer. This would be good news were it not for the funding crisis in elderly care. The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services calculates £4.6 billion has been cut from social care budgets since 2010. The number of adults eligible to receive social care has plummeted by 28 per cent. 
This is counter-productive: the government says it wants to help older people stay active and independent, but then removes the support they need. Most councils only fund those already in ‘critical’ or ‘substantial’ need and past the point  of no return. 
The voluntary sector would probably collapse without the help and support of those in later life, and the disabled have overcome challenges most of us could not even imagine, yet the Conservative government has treated both badly. UKIP will reverse cuts to the adult social care budget and end humiliating work capability tests for disabled people.
People who have worked hard all their lives and contributed to our economy have been stripped of hot meals and essential home help under the Tories,  and for what? To keep shovelling cash out of the door to prop up a corrupt foreign aid regime, and fund a railway project to help their rich friends get  home ten minutes faster
No wonder older people are now more likely to be admitted to hospital, and less likely to be able to leave hospital when they recover. 6,800 such patients every day cannot be discharged, so ambulances queue up outside A&E and planned operations are cancelled. This inefficiency costs the NHS approximately £1 billion a year, and it could get worse. 
Last year, research by BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours found 59 home care companies had already handed unprofitable contracts back to local authorities, and that one in four care homes may go out of business within three years. The Better Care Fund was supposed to improve liaison between the NHS and local councils and ease pressure on hospitals, but the Public Accounts Committee found it was ‘little more than a ruse.’ The freedom to raise council tax by two per cent to fund adult social care is of least help to councils in the poorest areas, who have less income from council tax, but the most pressing care needs.
The only answer is to reverse the cuts to care budgets. UKIP will put back money the Conservatives have removed, investing  up to £2 billion every year into social care.  
We will prioritise early intervention schemes and community-based models of care that promote independence and wellbeing, such as supported living arrangements. Institutional and acute care models should be a last-resort. 
We will continue to pay Attendance Allowance for all people over the age of 65 who need help with personal care, including new claimants, from central government funds. We reject Conservative proposals that this benefit should be funded locally for all new claimants.  
SUPPORT CARE STAFF Caring can be difficult and frustrating, and care staff deserve better pay and respect. We will address the culture of long hours, low pay and 
perceived low status that leads to high  staff turnover. 
UKIP will not allow the NHS, or third parties under contract to local authorities, to employ home care workers on zero hours contracts. Workers must also be paid for travelling time to prevent their being paid less than the minimum or living wage.  
INVESTING IN DEMENTIA RESEARCH  AND TREATMENT Dementia is predicted to be the UK’s biggest killer. Already, 850,000 people in Britain live with dementia. UKIP will roll out a National Dementia Plan to recommend research and treatment priorities, and co-ordinate expertise. This plan will be developed in cooperation with multi-discipline dementia specialists to identify spending priorities and deliver a bold new programme of research, treatment, care and understanding. 
UKIP will treble the amount we allocated to dementia research and treatment in 2015, taking our total fresh funding pot to £400 million each year over the course of the  next parliament. 
PROTECTING CARE AT HOME   In January, campaigning organisation Disability United exposed clauses in Continuing Healthcare policies that stated home-based care would only be provided if costs do not exceed residential placement costs by a certain percentage, generally ten percent. This could mean forcibly moving someone into a care home to save relatively small amounts of money. 
UKIP will make sure those with on-going health care needs choose where they wish to live, unless they are unable to make that choice themselves, or care at home becomes unviable. 
AN END TO UNFAIR  BENEFIT CUTS Levels of unmet need for disabled and learning disabled people are at a record high. Sense, the national charity for children and adults who are deafblind and have complex needs, calculates 108,000 learning disabled adults with moderate to severe needs now receive no support at all. Over the last year alone, the charity says the number of people in receipt of support for a sensory impairment has decreased by 11.4 per cent.
UKIP will not cut disability benefits.  
ENDING THE INJUSTICE OF PERSONAL INDEPENDENCE PAYMENTS Personal Independence Payments, or PIPs, are replacing the Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Without a PIP, disabled 
people cannot access other benefits such as Carer’s Allowance or the charitable Motability scheme to get a powered wheelchair or accessible car. 
PIPs were supposed to help disabled people into work and pay a range of disability benefits based on individual need, but they seem to have 
become a covert way of slashing the benefit bill. Since disabled people were required to undergo a new battery of medical tests, 250,000 of them have had their benefit cut. 
Some 300 people a day who have their benefits cut following reassessments are appealing against these new decisions, at a cost of £1 million a week to the taxpayer. They are right to appeal, as six out of ten appeals are successful, but while they await the outcome of their appeals, many are falling into debt, and have vital support or equipment taken away from them. 50,000 people have had accessible vehicles removed since PIPs  were introduced. 
The current Work Capability Assessments are not fit for purpose. We will reform them in consultation with disabled people and disability charities. They must accurately assess the barriers faced by disabled people to enter employment, and indicate what specialist employment support will be needed for those who are ready for work.   
SUPPORTING CARERS We recommit to giving carers an extra five days’ paid holiday each year, and increasing  Carer’s Allowance from £62.70 per week to £73.10 a week, to match the higher level of Job Seeker’s Allowance. 

WE STAND BY OUR 2015 MANIFESTO PLEDGES TO:
• Protect services such as meals-on-wheels, luncheon clubs, day care services and home care
• Abolish the annual assessment process for continuing healthcare funding in respect of those suffering from a degenerative, terminal illness
• Fund a pro-active co-ordinating service for older and disabled people in every county 
to combat loneliness, combining resources from across the NHS, social services and the voluntary sector.  
• Introduce a legally binding Dignity Code to improve the quality and standard of care for older people in hospital, care homes or their own home, and protect whistleblowers. 
• Protect the rights of  the disabled 
• Scrap the bedroom tax 
• Give tenants the right to request Housing Benefit is paid direct to their landlords, whatever benefit scheme they are on
• Improve carers’ access to support by sharing 
information on benefit and social care entitlements and on support groups across all public services 
• Exempt foodbanks and charity shops from charges imposed by local authorities to dispose of unwanted food waste and other goods.