Social care in England has bleak future after £800 million cuts

Social care in England is facing a bleak future despite planned changes as services have been forced into budget cuts.Social care in England has bleak future after £800 million cutsResearch by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services showed £800 million was likely to be taken from the £16 billion budget this year.

The group warned it meant “the bleak outlook becomes even bleaker”.

It comes as the government looks set to signal later in the Queen’s Speech its determination to reform the system.

The draft social care and support bill, which is expected to be included in the speech, will be used to clarify the law on social care and pave the way for the introduction of a cap on the costs people face for elderly care.

Currently anyone with assets of more than £23,250 faces unlimited costs, but ministers have said they want to see lifetime costs capped at £72,000 from 2016.

The result of the move would be that many more people would be brought into the state system. Estimates have suggested an extra 450,000.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the changes to the social care system needed to be made quickly, as the UK faced a “very big challenge” because of its ageing society.
Resorting to rationing

But the ADASS figures, compiled from a survey of directors at 145 of the 152 councils, illustrate the problem councils are facing trying to provide services to the elderly and disabled.

The projected £800 million reduction in spending comes after nearly £2bn has been trimmed from budgets in the past two years.

While social care directors said they were trying to make savings through measures such as more efficient working and better procurement, nearly a fifth thought the quality of life that could be provided would worsen in the coming years.

Half said the numbers able to access services would reduce too as councils resorted to rationing.

ADASS president Sandie Keene said: “Gazing into the next two years, without additional investment from that already planned, an already bleak outlook becomes even bleaker.”

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