Pre-budget report: adult care spending fears

Service users and their families may be left to foot the bill for the long-term reform of adult care due to planned cuts in the growth of public spending, a leading director has warned.

Sarah Pickup, co-chair of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, made the claim after the government revealed significant cuts in the growth rate of public spending for 2011-14.

In last week’s pre-budget report, chancellor Alistair Darling announced that public sector spending increases would slow from 2.1% a year for 2008-11 to 1.2% a year for 2011-14.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has estimated that public services will miss out on an estimated £37bn from 2011-14 as a result of the cut in the growth rate.

The planned reform to the funding system for adult social care may not be implemented until 2011 or afterwards, ­following a green paper next year.

Ministers have said that there will be a £6bn funding gap in adult social care if spending keeps pace with economic growth over the next 20 years, due to rising demand.

However, they have also warned that the funding solution will come from the state, individuals and families.

Pickup said: “It could be that the green paper is one of ways in which the government seeks to find a solution to funding social care while cutting public spending. It may try to shift the balance to individuals, families or insurance.”

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