Headlines: February 13th, 2009

Three leading charities have claimed that spending on social care services for vulnerable elderly people has been so severely cut that thousands of people have been left without the support they need. The claim has come from Help the Aged, Counsel and Care and Carers UK which have launched the Right Care Right Deal campaign to highlight what they have branded a disgraceful drop in funding.

They pointed to a National Health Service report showing social services spending had dropped by 150 million pounds in real terms for older people’s care services equivalent to a two per cent reduction when inflation is taken into account. The charities said eight out of ten people who needed home care did not receive it from the state.

The campaign is warning that the cuts, alongside tighter eligibility criteria and the ageing population, could mean that millions of older and disabled people would not get the care and support they needed. The charities said 2,450,000 older people in England had care needs while between five and six million people were unpaid carers for a relative or friend.

Paul Cann, director of policy and external relations for Help the Aged, said it was disgraceful that older people were again the victims of spending cuts. “For many, a two per cent decrease will mean a reduced care service or no care service at all. In reality this might mean people can’t get up in the morning, leave the house or shop for food,” he said.

Mr. Cann said the Government needed to do much more to fix the buckling care system and said the forthcoming Social Care Green Paper would be a litmus test of whether it was committed to improving care for older people.