Further cuts to care services warning made

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) has claimed that further cuts to care services in England will be needed in the coming year.

Local authorities plan to spend £22.5 billion this year on services for older people and younger adults with disabilities, an increase of £400 million on last year. However, ADASS has warned that the spend was not enough to keep up with demand and inflation.

Having surveyed 151 councils across the country, care leaders are warning of ‘fragile and failing’ services, emphasising that the government’s failure to get to grips with the escalating financial crisis in social care has put tens of thousands of older and disabled people at risk of being denied basic support such as help with washing and dressing.

Since the beginning of the decade, adult social care directors in councils across England have had to make a staggering £7 billion of savings, and need to find a further £700 million for 2019/20, just as demand and needs are rising.

Earlier this year, the Age UK charity said that tightening eligibility for council-funded social care meant 627,000 people – nearly 900 a day – had been refused social care since March 2017. More than 1.4 million older people aged 65 and over had unmet care needs, it estimated.

Julie Ogley, president of ADASS, said: “Too many older and disabled people and their families still struggle without getting the help they need. Social workers, managers and councillors are having to make incredibly difficult decisions based on dwindling resources, which should not be allowed to happen in a modern, compassionate society.

“We cannot be expected to keep relying on emergency, one-off funding just to keep services going while not knowing about how much might be available for the rest of this year, let alone next. Despite these immense challenges, the 150 adult social care directors across the country who provided these results have shown what they have been able to do in order to make savings, while continuing to keep the interests of the most vulnerable and elderly in our communities at the very heart of every decision they take.

“Good care and support transforms lives, helping people to live good lives, or the best they can, in a variety of circumstances. It enhances health and wellbeing, increasing independence, choice and control. It is distinctive, valued, and personal. Our message from this survey to the new Prime Minister, whoever this may be, is very clear: Make social care an immediate priority. A thriving economy and a caring nation requires it.”

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