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04.06.15

Social care at risk as councils forced to cut another £1bn, says ADASS

More than £1bn will be taken out of social care budgets in 2015-16 because of cuts in council funding, making the whole sector ‘unsustainable’, a report published by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Service (ADASS) has warned.

The sixth annual ADASS budget survey, completed by 147 directors of adult social services for councils in England, found that this financial year alone councils are making collective savings of £1.1bn (8%).

This brings the total real-terms spending cuts to the social care sector to £4.6bn since 2011, and this is having an impact on the sustainability of the workforce.

Ray James, president of ADASS, said: “The ongoing clamp-down on fees to providers is beginning to have an inevitable clamp-down on staff skills, staff training, staff remuneration and staff satisfaction.

“Yet a well-paid, properly valued workforce is the rock on which the safety, care and security of so many of our vulnerable population is based. Maintaining a sustainable workforce in a sustainable provider market is now a key concern.”

He added that short-changing social care is short-sighted and short-term.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, chair of the Local Government Association's Community Wellbeing Board, said the report emphasises the urgent need for adult social care funding to be put on a sustainable footing or care and support for the elderly and disabled will be at risk.

"Local authorities have sought to protect services for our most vulnerable people as far as possible, often at the expense of other services, and will continue to prioritise those most in need,” she said.

“However, the necessity for further budget savings worth £1.1bn combined with other pressures of insufficient funding, growing demand and escalating costs mean that despite councils' best efforts they are having to make tough decisions about the care services they can provide. This cannot continue.”

A government spokesperson stated that the survey ignores the government’s commitment to put an additional £10bn by 2020 into health services that are being joined up with social care for the first time, and the contribution of the Better Care Fund.

Richard Humphries, director of policy at the King’s Fund, said: “There is no hiding the fact that, despite the best efforts of local authorities, a sixth consecutive year of budget cuts will mean further reductions in services and fewer people receiving support.

“It defies demography that councils will spend £1bn less this year on essential services that more of us will need.

“Social care is now at a crossroads. It is at risk of becoming a residual service, available only to those with the lowest incomes and highest needs, leaving thousands of people and their families struggling to meet the costs of care.”

In a survey of NHS leaders conducted for the NHS Confederation released yesterday, 99% agreed that “cuts to social care funding are putting increasing pressures on the NHE as a whole”, and 92% said the cuts were affecting their own services and patients.

socail care survey

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