Almost a quarter of adult care users or carers have had their services cut before the full impact of government reductions in council budgets starts being felt from 1 April onwards, leading charities have found.
A further 22% of users and carers have support needs but are not receiving any services, found the survey of 1,000 service users and carers by the Care and Support Alliance, which represents over 40 charities including Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Carers UK, Leonard Cheshire Disability and Mencap.
The poll looked at the impact of service changes from November 2009 to February 2011, and found that decisions by councils, such as increases to charges or eligibility thresholds for care, were taking their toll on users and carers’ health, independence and income levels. Of the whole sample, 54% said changes to services had had a negative impact on their health, 52% said their independence had been negatively affected and 43% were less able to afford essentials such as food or heating.
“We are extremely concerned that services which were already failing to keep pace with changing demographics are being cut back further,” the alliance said. “These cuts are having an impact on families before the major cuts to local authority funding bite from April 2011. This will only be exacerbated by bigger cuts to come as the government reduces funding to local councils.”
The alliance has submitted the results to the Commission on Funding of Care and Support, which is considering how the care system can be reformed to ensure its long-term sustainability and improve fairness.
“The outlook for our society looks bleak for many families unless the government and the Commission on Funding of Care and Support take bold steps to ensure that we have a sustainable funding system for social care.”
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