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Government urged to provide ‘strong, sustainable’ plan for social care

The Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) says successive governments’ failure to sustainably fund social care is leaving millions of people at risk of losing support.

The warning comes as part of a report by the national body, which represents not-for-profit disability support providers, suggesting that social care has been chronically under-funded in recent years.

The document pinpoints increasing demands for services along with rising prices and workforce recruitment and retention problems as key issues in the immediate future.

The VODG argued that there could be 11.7 million disabled people in Britain by 2025, many of whom will be part of an ageing population who will require a different kind of support.

It asserted that voluntary sector providers are disproportionally affected by budget cuts, amounting to £6.3bn in savings since 2010, as they mainly support people who are publicly funded.

The report also points to high staff turnover which could lead to an estimated 90,000 vacancies across the adult social care sector at any given time.

Dr Rhidian Hughes, VODG chief executive, said: “The issue of squeezed funding, increasing demand, increasing costs and workforce challenges has wider ramifications.

“There will be a direct impact on the lives of disabled people as well as a knock-on effect on other public sector services such as the NHS.

“The government must develop a strong, sustainable funding plan for social care unless it wants to risk damaging both the quality and quantity of support services available to people who most rely on them.”

In addition, the report points to other pressures such as the increase in average hourly rates due to the introduction of the National Living Wage and the potential retrospective requirement to provide NLW back-pay to sleep-in shift workers for up to six years.

Its findings comes just over a month before the chancellor is due to reveal his Autumn Budget in Parliament, which could potentially include reform policies for the social care market – although more money is unlikely after his £2bn cash injection in the spring.

Top Image: Matthias Zomer

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