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Government smoke and mirrors over care budgets

Published on 22 September 2010 03:30 PM

Government smoke and mirrors over care budgets

Giving people who use social care service control of their own budgets is a welcome move, but it risks being a hollow gesture if the Government imposes a 25 per cent spending cut on social care in October's spending review, says Age UK.

Care Minister Paul Burstow MP today announced the Government's intention to allow all recipients of social care to have control of their personal budgets. 

Commenting, Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director at Age UK, said:

"Personal budgets can enable people in later life to live fuller and more independent lives.  Many people who receive social care will welcome greater choice and control over their personal budgets.

"But at a time when social care spending faces being cut by 25 per cent, then people are right to question whether this is all smoke and mirrors.  If the Treasury cuts social care by 25 per cent, three out of four of the 650,000 older and disabled people in England who currently receive home-based care will lose this support, whether it comes as a personal budget or not.

"It is a hollow gesture to give people greater control with personal budgets if spending cuts mean that three out of four recipients will lose them again over the next few years.


Notes to Editor

1. New projections from the Personal Social Services Research Unit at the LSE and University of Kent show that among over-65s, 500,000 of the 650,000 older and disabled people who currently rely on home-based care will lose these vital services if there is a 25 per cent spending cut. 

2. According to the PRSU, a black hole of 2.2 billion pounds will open up over the next four years (the gap between the funding available and what is required to maintain existing levels of service). This focuses attention on the crisis facing older people who are housebound, frail, isolated and who rely on care at home.  The loss of home-based care would put them at higher risk of neglect, declining health and for some, earlier death. 

3. The LSE/University of Kent report is entitled, ‘The impact of a tightening fiscal situation on social care for older people' by Professor Julien Forder and Dr Jose-Luis Fernandez‚ published September 2010.

4. The LSE and University of Kent research unit modelled the impact on older people's care services of expected government-wide spending cuts of 25 per cent over the next four years. 

5. The London School of Economics and University of Kent analysis uses the Personal Social Services Research Unit's older people's social care model to make projections of future care spending and need. The modelling assumes that the spending cuts are delivered exclusively by restricting eligibility for services‚ rather than‚ for example‚ by increasing means-tested charges.

6. These figures have been rounded and do not sum to the total.

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Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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