A leading carers charity has warned that older and disabled people face “further rationing of vital care”, as new figure reveal the extent of cuts to adult social care funding in England.
The latest budget survey from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) reveals there have been £7.7 billion in cumulative savings since 2010, with a further £699 million in savings earmarked for 2019/20.
However, the survey also shows that only 33% of social care directors believe they will be able to find these extra savings, with 65% directors feeling partially confident.
And only 35% of social care directors believe current budgets will be sufficient to meet the needs of care users.
Helen Walker, Chief Executive at Carers UK, said: “The latest survey of Adult Social Care Directors points to bleak prospects for older and disabled people and the families that support them.
“The care funding gap has now become a chasm as cumulative cuts of £7 billion this decade mean further rationing of vital care as well as cuts to information and preventative services that can delay future needs developing.
“600 people a day are leaving paid jobs in order to care for family or friends as care and support needs go unmet.
“The ADASS budget survey paints a picture of councils in England having to make impossible decisions affecting some of the most vulnerable in society in a context of growing demand and uncertainty about future funding.
“Local authority surveys of carers themselves have shown the stark impact on the health and wellbeing of unpaid carers that the care funding crisis is causing.
“The numbers of unpaid carers experiencing stress, depression and sleep deprivation is growing.
“Worryingly, today’s survey reveals a quarter of Directors of Adult Social Care expect the quality of life of unpaid carers to get even worse in the next two years.
“The future Prime Minister must take responsibility for ending the mounting care crisis; putting in place immediate funding and a clear path to a sustainable funding solution.
“Carers and their families have already waited too long for consistently high quality and affordable care and access to the breaks and support carers need for their own health and financial security.”
President of ADASS, Julie Ogley, said: “Older and disabled people need dignified, high quality care and support. We know that when this is properly resourced, it works.
“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.
“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.
“Too many older and disabled people and their families still struggle without getting the help they need. Social workers, managers and councillors are having to make incredibly difficult decisions based on dwindling resources, which should not be allowed to happen in a modern, compassionate society.
“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.
“Despite these immense challenges, the 150 adult social care directors across the country who provided these results have shown what they have been able to do in order to make savings, while continuing to keep the interests of the most vulnerable and elderly in our communities at the very heart of every decision they take.
“Good care and support transforms lives, helping people to live good lives, or the best they can, in a variety of circumstances. It enhances health and wellbeing, increasing independence, choice and control. It is distinctive, valued, and personal.
“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.”
Sharlene McGee, Policy and Research Manager at Leonard Cheshire Disability, said: “As funding for social care services continues to dwindle year on year, it is simply unacceptable that local councils are being forced to shut down essential care services.
“Access to these services are an absolute necessity for people with disabilities and health conditions, helping them to live more independent lives in their own communities.
“The social care crisis and a lack of long-term funding provision is compromising disabled people’s quality of life.
“This failure has brought devastating consequences for disabled people and their families and the Government needs to take urgent action to open up access to immediate funding and put social care on a sustainable footing for the long term.”
Director of Services at Carers Trust, Kathryn Hill, said: “This budget survey from the Association of Directors of Adults Social Services lays bare the terrible human impact of the longstanding failure by successive governments to provide a long-term solution to the funding of social care.
“It is hugely concerning to read once again that local authorities are more pessimistic about the future financial prospects of adult social care, and less likely to feel confident that they would meet their statutory duties.
“Local carers services remain willing and able to help deliver high quality services that will support carers, but they need the sustained funding to do so.
“In the meantime, unpaid carers – many experiencing high levels of stress – are left picking up the pieces of an underfunded social care system with no sign of progress from government about when that system will be fixed.”