Social care for elderly must be a priority for new government, warns watchdog

Updated: 

Elderly social care, energy prices and financial fraud must be top priorities for the next government to maintain consumer confidence and a thriving economy, a watchdog has said.

Which? urged all political parties to address the "critical" consumer issues in the forthcoming election which are the cause of "significant detriment" across the UK.

In its Consumer Agenda for Government, the consumer group said a survey had found 65% of the public believed that tackling issues around social care for elderly people must be a top priority.

Taking action on energy prices, which have gone up by more than 40% for gas and 35% for electricity over the last 10 years, was a priority for 51%.

Financial fraud and scams, which affect more than three million consumers a year, was named as a priority for action by 31%.

Home buying and selling (27%), saving enough for retirement (21%) and improving issues around rail services (20%) were also listed by those polled.

Which? has called for action to improve people's experience of care homes, a clear position on energy market competition and an "ambitious" agenda to tackle fraud.

It also wants improvements to make home-buying easier, swift delivery of the pensions dashboard to give people easy access to essential information about all of their retirement savings and a new Transport Ombudsman and powers for the rail regulator to hold train companies to account for poor passenger services.

Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said: "The next government must take this opportunity to address the issues that matter most to the public, committing to reforming essential markets so that they work better for customers.

"Only then will it maintain consumer confidence and ensure a thriving economy as Britain prepares to leave the European Union."