“Make social care a priority,” govt told, as cuts strip services from thousands

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) has called on the government to prioritise the social care sector, warning that successive cuts to local authority budgets mean that thousands of older and disabled people now face losing the services they rely on.

27 Jun 2019| News

Councils have been forced to make £7 billion in savings within adult social care since 2010 and now face a shortfall of £700 million to provide services throughout this financial year, a survey by the organisation found.

More than 7,000 service users have been affected by care home closures and the collapse of home care providers over the last six months – more than double the number impacted last year – and it is expected this number will rise without urgent action, especially as the demand for services is rising among the UK’s ageing population. Age UK reports that 1.4 million people aged 65 and over currently have unmet needs.

“Every minute of every day, heroic care staff are making an essential difference to the lives of the people they look after. Many receive great care and support throughout and to the end of their lives,” President of ADASS, Julie Ogley, said.

“Sadly however, as this budget survey shows, we are still desperately lacking the sustainable, long-term funding needed to provide vital services that will support people to live as independently and healthily as possible.”

The government is yet to provide certainty on the funding of adult social care from April 2020 onwards, and the government has been forced to provide urgent cash injections to keep services afloat in recent times. ADASS warned that if a financial plan for the sector was not announced by September, councils will be forced “to make incredibly difficult decisions”.

“We cannot be expected to keep relying on emergency, one-off funding just to keep services going while not knowing about how much might be available for the rest of this year, let alone next,” Julie Ogley said.

“Our message from this survey to the new Prime Minister, whoever this may be, is very clear: Make social care an immediate priority. A thriving economy and a caring nation requires it.”