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Spending on older people's care to be cut by 8.4%

Published on 27 June 2011 12:30 AM

Spending on older people's care to be cut by 8.4 per cent this year reveals new Age UK research

Age UK research launched today reveals that the likely cuts in  older people's social care of 8.4 per cent this year, could hasten the collapse of an already crumbling social care system in England.

Age UK made a Freedom of Information request to each English council with responsibility for adult social services, to reveal their planned expenditure on older people's social care for the current financial year ( 2011/12). 

These findings come the week before the Dilnot Commission is due to publish its landmark recommendations for the future funding for social care.

The Charity received responses from 139 councils out of a total 152 councils.  Age UK combined the councils' responses with the estimated addition of the NHS contribution to local authorities and found that:

  • Net expenditure on older people's social care is falling  from 2010-11 to 2011-12 by £610 million, a fall of 8.4per cent
  • In 2011-12, the  net annual expenditure per person  over the age of 65 is falling to £791 continuing a downward trend from £864 in 2010-2011 and £872 in 2009-10
  • In 2011-12 the planned net expenditure by local authorities per individual older person who needs care, has been slashed to £2335, continuing the downward trend from £2548 in 2010-11 and £2573 in 2009/10. There are 2.9 million people over the age of 65 living in England, who currently need care. With the care system currently under strain only 1.148 million of them are receiving support from their council. The fall in spending is likely to limit the public provision of care even further. Fewer individuals will be offered care, and those who do receive support are likely to see it reduced.

While local authorities in England are striving to protect front line services, the Age UK research shows that:

  • At least 61 councils  are making savings by increasing or making new charges on social care provision such as home help or day care centres, which are paid for  by the older person using the services
  • At least 27 councils are making savings by reducing personal budgets or domiciliary care packages, meaning that those who receive support will receive fewer hours of help
  • At least 25 councils are making savings by reducing the number of placements in care homes available
  • 76 councils have either frozen or decreased the rates they pay for residential homes for older people, leaving older people and their families who pay "top-up fees" to absorb any price increases.

Michelle Mitchell Charity Director for Age UK, said: 'Funding for social care is already inadequate and the system today is failing many older people at the time when they really need help. The consequences of cutting expenditure further to 8.4 per cent, indicated by our research, could be devastating. We are fearful that even more vulnerable older people will be left to struggle alone and in some cases lives will be put at risk. We anticipate these cuts will condemn many more older people to a miserable existence behind closed doors struggling to keep safe and well.

'We wait with interest the publication of the Dilnot Commission on 4  July . The report must make recommendations that will turn around the crisis and build a social care system for the future that will be fair for today's and tomorrow's pensioners.'

Age UK is calling for the Government to commit to an essential £3 billion additional spending on social care to ensure that it meets its legal duty to provide care to vulnerable older people.  It is vital that older people are guaranteed high quality care at the point when they need it, and that a new, fairer pathway for paying for long term care is established.

Age UK's ‘Crisis in Care' report calculates that 800,000 older people who currently need social care do not receive any formal support from either state or private sector agencies.  Age UK believes this figure will rise to well over one million over the next four years as a result of cuts to local authority budgets.

- ENDS -

Notes to Editors

Methodology: In May 2011, Age UK asked every English Council with responsibility for Adult Social Services for their planned their planned net expenditure on older people's social care is in 2011-12. 139 councils responded to the request. Of these, 110 gave details of their planned net expenditure on older people's social care for 2011-12. Based on their responses we can estimate that net expenditure on older people's social care by English councils with responsibility for adult social services will fall again from 2010-11 to 2011-12 by 11.4% (approximately £828,041,622) . These are cash figures with no adjustment for inflation. The 11.4% decrease is calculated only using figures from councils who responded to this question.  The £828,041,622 has been calculated by calculating an 11.4% decrease in all CASSRs spending on older people's social care in 2010-11.

The budget figures local authorities gave Age UK do not include the NHS contribution towards social care that they are due to receive this year. In order to account for this Age UK has made an estimate of how much of their NHS contribution local authorities are likely to spend on older people. In 2010-11 35% of net current expenditure on social care was spent on older people. Therefore we have assumed that local authorities are likely to spend 35% of their NHS contribution on older people.  Age UK has added this to what local authorities told us they planned to spend on older people's social care.  When Age UK adds in this extra money from the NHS, the charity estimates that net expenditure on older people's social care by English councils with responsibility for adult social services will fall from 2010-11 to 2011-12 by 8.4% (approximately £610,135,932).

Age UK has estimated the  numbers of older people living in each local authority who have care needs (whether those needs are met or not) based on a projection of ppeople aged 65 and over unable to manage at least one self-care activity on their own, by age and gender from the Living Britain Survey . Activities include: bathe, shower or wash all over, dress and undress, wash their face and hands, feed, cut their toenails, take medicines.

Media contact: Hilary Carter/Fiona Callister
Telephone: 020 3033 1689
Out of hours: 07071 243 243

Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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