Saturday, 21 September 2013

Population and migration: care for the elderly

"If we Europeans want to be cared for in our old age, and we also want fewer future people in the world, the last thing we should be doing is trying to reduce migration to Europe." 
(Danny Dorling, Population 10 Billion, the coming demographic crisis and how to survive it.)
RSA - Does Population Matter?

This is an explosive issue, with very differing political views:
The care homes staffed by illegal immigrants, revealed in leaked Home Office report | Mail Online
Social care staff shortages set to worsen with immigration cap - 11/9/2010 - Community Care 
▶ The Day the Immigrants Left, Part-3/6 - YouTube

A health minister today waded into a furious immigration row by warning that London’s care system would “collapse” without foreign workers.
Senior Lib-Dem Norman Lamb claimed large numbers of poorly paid immigrants are toiling to look after the capital’s elderly and disabled.
There has been controversy over Home Office vans which carried posters through London telling illegal immigrants to “go home or face arrest”.  
Mr Lamb, due to speak at his party’s conference today, said he wanted to take anti-immigration campaigners to see the good work done by immigrants and added: “I have been out in London accompanying a care worker visiting people’s homes seeking to understand what the job involves. He happened to come from Sardinia. I witnessed a very dedicated person. All, bar one, of his colleagues were migrant workers. This is the other side of the immigration debate. Our care system would collapse without the work of so many migrant workers in London and elsewhere.”
Migrant workers are vital for care, claims minister - Health - News - London Evening Standard

Similarly, most of Sidmouth's care homes for the elderly are staffed by migrants:

If you have a sick parent living in a care home, you might have to take the day off to look after them. In 2009 a fifth of all care assistants and home carers – 135,000 people in total – were foreign-born; in London, 60 per cent of care workers were migrants. 
Without immigrants, our country wouldn’t function. So let’s give it a go...

And the prognosis from the Telegraph is dramatic:

Britain needs millions more immigrants to reduce strain of ageing population

Daily Telegraph: 17 July 2013

Britain may need millions more immigrants over the next 50 years to reduce the "unsustainable" pressure that the ageing population is putting on the economy, the official forecaster has said.

The Office for Budget Responsibility said that spending on the state pension, social care and healthcare will rise from 14 per cent of Britain's GDP to almost a fifth.
The report found that allowing more than 140,000 immigrants into Britain a year, equivalent to 6million people, would help increase the overall number of people who are in work and improve public finances.
Its analysis suggests that Britain's borrowing as a propotion of GDP would rise to 99 per cent if there is a steady flow of immigrants. If there was a complete ban on immigrants, borrowing would rise to 174 per cent of GDP.
David Cameron has pledged to reduce the levels of immigration into Britain to "tens of thousands" during this Parliament. Last year the number of immigrants dropped by 89,000 to 153,000.
The report says: "Our analysis shows that overall migration has a positive impact on the sustainability of the public finances over our 50 year horizon.
"There is clear evidence that, since migrants tend to be more concentrated in the working-age group relatively to the rest of the population, immigration has a positive effect on the public sector’s debt dynamics."
The OBR found that Britain's ageing population and strained healthcare system means that there will need to be an extra £19billion of spending cuts or tax rises after 2019.
The additional savings, which could be spread over the next 50 years, are on top of the £153billion of austerity measures the government is alraedy implementing.
If no action is taken, the burden of an ageing population in terms of pensions and healthcare will wipe out much of Chancellor George Osborne's spending cuts, leaving the UK with a £65 billion hole in its finances, according to the OBR.
In its annual fiscal sustainability report, it said: "It is clear that longer-term spending pressures, if unaddressed, would put the public finances on an unsustainable path."
"Public sector net debt would approach 100% of gross domestic product (GDP) and still be rising," it added.
The OBR said the move to a single-tier state pension had slightly eased the pressure on public sector debt, but added that spending on healthcare was the biggest spending pressure over the next 50 years.
The cost of the state pension was predicted to rise from 5.8% of GDP to 8.4% of GDP as the population ages, even with the introduction of the new flat rate payment system and increase in retirement age to 67 taken into account.
Healthcare spending is expected to increase from 7% of GDP to 8.8% of GDP, while long-term social care costs are set to rise from 1.3% of GDP to 2.4% of GDP.

Britain needs millions more immigrants to reduce strain of ageing population - Telegraph

See also:
Futures Forum: Jobs and services: caring for the elderly
Futures Forum: East Devon's population
Futures Forum: The future of dementia in Sidmouth

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