Care services minister Paul Burstow has told councils that they have no excuse to cut adult social care despite yesterday’s spending review delivering cuts of 28% to councils over the next four years.
Burstow pointed to the extra £2bn in annual funding for adult care identified by chancellor George Osborne as providing councils with the resources to maintain care services at current levels.
“There is no justification for local authorities to slash and burn or for local authorities to tighten eligibility as far as the settlement goes.”
None of the £2bn is ring-fenced. Half of it has been rolled up into councils’ overall grant funding from government, which is being cut by 28% from 2011-15 in real terms; the other half has been given to the NHS to spend on social care services such as reablement. But there is no indication as yet that NHS commissioners will be mandated to spend the money on these services.
Social care leaders broadly welcomed the funding announced yesterday but have warned that it is unlikely to help councils manage the cuts or cope with demographic pressures that are estimated to add 4% a year to social care costs over the coming years.
However, Burstow said the extra money would provide councils with “the wherewithal to meet the demographic pressures”.
His comments follow his attack on councils for announcing cuts to social care before the spending review, a move defended by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services as being in line with ministers’ projections about the spending review.
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