Cuts Watch #89: Social Care
Recent reports from two ends of the age spectrum reveal the cuts’ threat to social care. Last week, Age UK reported that “cuts to social care budgets will put thousands of older people’s lives at risk.”
Age UK took the Institute for Fiscal Studies’ projections for likely cuts to spending departments not protected by the government’s ring-fencing of the NHS; this equated to a reduction of £900 million over two years for older people’s social care. The London School of Economics calculated that, over the same period, the rising numbers of frail older people would mean that an extra £800 million was actually needed. The resulting £1.75 billion “funding black hole” would lead to local authorities only being able to provide care for 500,000 older people, instead of the one million expected to be eligible in 2012 using the criteria authorities use at present.
Today, Community Care reports that the director of children’s services for Nottingham Council has written to schools and the NHS locally, asking them only to refer cases to social workers when they have “serious welfare concerns.” In an indication of a possible future direction for public services, the director told Community Care that his department wasn’t withdrawing from preventative services, “instead, it was looking at what resources and agencies were available to children’s services and how to use them most effectively.”