Council Chiefs Warn More Cuts to Care On Way

The annual budget survey by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) shows that councils expect to spend £21.4bn this year in England.

While this is a rise from £20.8bn last year, ADASS claim that the cost of inflation combined with growing demand means that this will not be enough.

They warn that, because of this insufficient funding, vulnerable old and disabled people are likely to see cuts to vital care services and higher charges.

Currently only a fifth of those needing care get help from councils. If, as this survey of local authority directors of adult care suggests, councils end up supporting fewer people, it will mean only those with the very highest needs get help and more people are likely to be pushed into the private market.

For many that will mean they have to reach a crisis, whether it is a fall which takes them to hospital or the illness of a husband and wife unable to cope any more with caring for their partner. It is difficult to underestimate the human cost of that.

This government has acknowledged the pressures on the system and promised reform - something other governments have failed to do.

Most experts agree the biggest challenge will be sorting out the money needed to pay for care - with the NHS also under pressure, the fear is that the less visible crisis in social care will be overlooked again.

ADASS president Glen Garrod said the findings were of "serious concern" and described the care market as "fragile".

Caroline Abrahams, of Age UK, said it was a "disgrace" that there were people who were not getting the support they needed for daily essentials like "getting dressed, going to the toilet, taking their medication or preparing their food".

"Unless policy makers are willing to invest in care, hundreds of thousands of older people face a bleak future, living without their needs being met," she added.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said plans would be set out soon to create a "diverse, vibrant and stable market".

She also pointed out that extra money had been found in recent years to relieve some of the pressures, but conceded the system was "under pressure".

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