Council older people’s services under pressure

Elderly people’s services provided by councils are under intense pressure, Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, Local Government Association chairman, said today as its survey shows council tax looks set to rise by just 3.9 per cent.

The LGA analysis of 127 local authorities on draft council tax budgets shows that local authorities are struggling to deliver services for an increasing number of older people.

It also says that councils are having to pick up the costs of care as an knock-on effect of the NHS deficits.

Bruce-Lockhart said: “In the next three years alone, there will be over 400,000 more older people – an increase of five per cent – many of whom will require social care. Without additional funding, local government may potentially face a situation, by as early as 2009, where it cannot afford to provide support for the 370,000 people with lower levels of need.”

He said that it was a “tribute” to councils that they were doing everything they could to “deliver an even better deal for the taxpayer”.

But he added: “If the chancellor is not prepared to pay for providing the type of care the vast majority of people expect, then the government must be honest about what it is prepared to fund, the impact it will have on local services and the burden it is choosing to shift onto council tax payers.”

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