Ministers’ inaction on care funding ‘putting dignity of elderly at risk’

Social care leaders say care White Paper has failed to address funding crisis.

Picture credit: Fotex/Rex Features

Older people risk being “stripped of their dignity and assets” by the government’s failure to tackle a “growing crisis” in care funding, social care leaders have warned.

They say the recent care White Paper has failed to address existing shortfalls in funding, help councils plan to meet future demographic pressures or provide sufficient funds to reform the care system.

A Local Government Association survey of more than 80 council leaders, charity directors, chief executives and social care experts found:

  • 83% said the White Paper had failed to move the system towards a sufficiency of funding;
  • 88% said the White Paper did not address the funding needed to met demographic pressures;
  • 89% felt the White Paper did not provide enough money to reform the system;
  • 67% felt the White Paper did not incentivise a move towards more cost-effective early intevention work;
  • 62% felt the government’s plans failed to recognise the urgency of the problem with care funding.

“The current care system is in danger of collapsing,” said David Rogers, chair of the LGA’s community well-being board. “Unless we see urgent action the growing funding crisis threatens our ability to provide basic daily services that older people rely on such as help with washing, getting out of bed and meals on wheels.”

Councils in England are cutting adult social care spending by almost £2bn from 2011-13 – once inflation and demographic pressures are taken into account – according to research by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.

Councils face further reductions in government funding from 2013-17, during which demographic pressures from growing numbers of older and learning disabled people are set to increase.

The LGA survey’s launch coincides with the start of the National Children and Adult Services Conference, the major annual local government social services conference, which will be addressed this year by health secretary Jeremy Hunt and care services minister Norman Lamb.

Community Care will be reporting from the conference over the next three days.

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