Care services minister Paul Burstow has criticised councils for slashing social care support before knowing the results of the public sector spending review, due next month.
His comments, at this week’s Liberal Democrat conference, follow an investigation by Community Care revealing council plans to raise eligibility thresholds, and proposals from several councils to raise care charges for service users.
“It is unconscionable to be making the decisions they are when they do not know what the spending review will contain. There is a lot of scaremongering going on at the moment,” he added.
Next month’s spending review is expected to announce real terms cuts of 25% or more for councils from 2011-15, but Burstow insisted these were “phased cuts over four years”.
At numerous Lib Dem conference fringe events, he has sought to reassure social care organisations that he is listening to their concerns on the impact of cuts on the most vulnerable.
“On 20 October the coalition’s spending plans will become clear. My job in government is to make sure those causes and concerns are brought to the table. In a time of famine, reform is absolutely essential, rather than the alternative, which is to slash, burn and retrench,” he added.
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