Well here’s a headline for you, Social care funding crisis looming say Age UK. Hello there where have you been for the last 20 years Age UK?
Government after council have always promised more money for our social care, but all have broken there promises, local councils have to take the flak over these cuts, because central government funding for local authorities have been cut year after year, therefore council run nursing homes have closed, most of the nursing homes in the UK are now privately owned, by either individuals, or companies, and they are all making massive amounts of money, not from local authorities but from the private individual’s who reside in them, we hear stories everyday that people have to sell there homes to pay for a bed in one of these homes, and the law courts and the court of human rights have said that this is illegal, but the practice still goes on. Nobody should be surprised that this government has cut the funding, even after there promise in April this year they would increase funding for social care, after all they have broken every other promise that they have made.
Charity believes councils to cut spending on social care for pensioners by 8.4% this year – but ministers dispute claim.
The charity Age UK warned on Monday that “devastating” cuts were being made to council care services for older people and the disabled.
In a survey released on Monday, the charity suggested English councils were cutting spending on social care for pensioners by £610m this year, or 8.4%.
Age UK’s survey, carried out through freedom of information requests, was based on this year’s spending plans of 110 of the 152 English councils responsible for social care.
On the basis of the calculated 8.4% cut, the charity said average net spending on people aged 65 and over would fall to £791, compared with £864 last year. Average net spending on those who need care – and the charity said only four in 10 of those who need support receive any – would fall from £2,548 to £2,335.
Michelle Mitchell, Age UK’s charity director, said: “Funding for social care is already inadequate and the system today is failing many older people at the time when they really need help.”
“The consequences of cutting expenditure further by 8.4%, as indicated by our research, could be devastating. We are fearful that even more vulnerable older people will be left to struggle alone and, in some cases, will be put at risk.”
The government’s funding review “must make recommendations that will turn around the crisis and build a social care system for the future that will be fair for today’s and tomorrow’s pensioners,” Mitchell said.
Barbara Keeley, Labour shadow minister for communities and local government, said the charity’s findings showed government cuts in council grant had gone too far, too fast. “We now have a crisis emerging in social care and government budget cuts are making it worse.”
Emily Thornberry, shadow care services minister, said: “Labour warned from the start that the Tories’ plans to slash council budgets would mean deep cuts to care services and would see the most vulnerable in our society suffer.”
The survey came before the official review of funding long-term care of older and disabled people, which is published next week and will call for increased public spending on care and support.
But there were already signs of cold feet in government before the publication of the official review, which is being led by economist Andrew Dilnot. One senior Liberal Democrat was quoted in the Observer on Sunday as saying the chancellor, George Osborne, wished to “strangle the proposals at birth”.
Ministers played down the suggestion, insisting Treasury colleagues were merely doing their job of asking searching questions about cost and timescales. “They’re just doing what it says on the tin,” said one.
The government has reacted angrily to Age UK’s survey, claiming the methodology was flawed. Ministers said the charity had factored in only 35% of a £1bn cash transfer from the NHS, earmarked for social care with particular reference to schemes to help older people.
Paul Burstow, the care services minister, said: “We know that social care needs urgent reform, but Age UK’s figures simply don’t add up. Their suggestion that only 35% of NHS social care funding will be spent on older people is simply wrong.”
The Dilnot review is expected to recommend a partnership between the state and the individual on care funding. A cap of perhaps £50,000 would be set on personal liability for care costs and people would be encouraged to take out insurance to cover spending to that limit.
The threshold of savings and assets above which the state makes no contribution to care costs, currently £23,250, would be increased to perhaps £35,000.
Ministers have promised a white paper by December and a social care reform bill next year. But implementation of a new system could take up to four years, by which time the public spending picture should have improved.