Thousands of old and disabled people are at risk of losing vital support because long-term funding for adult social care has been neglected by successive governments, care chiefs have warned.
A lack of certainty about future budgets after April 2020 could see councils having to make “incredibly difficult decisions” over the future of services, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass) said.
The charity warned that this could include giving notice to providers, such as care homes and home care services, whom older and disabled people depend on.
Adass said that councils across England have cut £7.7bn from adult social care budgets since 2010, with a further £700m of savings planned in 2019-20.
The survey found that only 35 per cent of directors of adult social care were fully confident that budgets will be sufficient to meet all of their statutory duties over that period.
It also found that only 33 per cent of directors of adult social services were fully confident that planned savings of £699m will be fully met in the year, with 65 per cent being partially confident.
Adass is calling on the government to draw up a long-term funding solution for adult social care with adequate funding to meet an increasing number of people’s needs in the ways they want.
Its president Julie Ogley said that although many people receive great care and support every day, many were struggling to get the help they need.
She added: “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.”
Ms Ogley called on the next prime minister to make social care an “immediate priority”.
She added: “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. 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.”
The survey also found that home care closures had impacted upon 7,019 people in 2018-19, up by more than double from 3,290 in 2017-18.
But care home closures impacted upon 1,173 people in 2018-19, down from 2,095 people in 2017-18.
The survey was carried out in April and May and had a 99 per cent response rate, although not all respondents answered all the questions.
Shadow social care minister Barbara Keeley branded the survey another “dire warning” about the state of social care services.
She added: “After nine years of cuts to council budgets, £7.7bn has been taken out of social care, leaving services at breaking point. The Tories’ lack of action on social care is forcing councils to make difficult decisions about who can receive care, and too many people are left struggling without the support they badly need.
“Councils need substantial investment, like the £8bn of additional funding for social care pledged by Labour, to ease the pressure on the social care system.”
But a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We have given local authorities access to up to £3.9bn more dedicated funding for adult social care this year, and a further £410m is available for adults and children’s services. The future funding of social care will be considered alongside the rest of local government services at the upcoming Spending Review and we will set out our plans to reform the social care system at the earliest opportunity to ensure it is sustainable for the future.”
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