LSE research: Half a million older and disabled people lose care since start of recession
– Embargo: not for publication before 9pm on Sunday 15 December
– Research reveals dramatic care funding squeeze
– Care Bill: 75 charities back Government’s ‘bold’ reforms
– CSA urges Government to re-think national care threshold and invest in local care
Half a million older and disabled people who would have received social care five years ago, now receive no local support.
As MPs prepare to debate the Care Bill today, new figures from the London School of Economics expose the “true scale of the social care crisis”.
The Care and Support Alliance, a coalition of 75 organisations and charities backs the Government’s ‘bold reforms’.
But it is calling on Ministers to re-think a proposal to restrict who gets support and address the funding crisis in local care.
The study, commissioned by the Care and Support Alliance examines the social care system over a five-year period, 2007/8 – 2012. The findings show that:
- The number of people receiving support from councils with tasks such as getting up, getting dressed and getting out of the house has plummeted for five years in a row – by a total of 347,000 since 2008.
- Adjusting for socio-demographic change, this is equivalent to 483,000 older and disabled people, who need support for basic tasks like getting washed and having a meal, and the families that care for them, being locked out of the social care system.
The squeeze is the result of councils restricting who they provide care.
In those areas this means older and disabled people who are unable to undertake several aspects of personal care, or of work, education or training are no longer eligible for council-funded care.
Under the current system they are described as people with ‘moderate needs’[ii]. But the CSA argues that description doesn’t capture the significant impact not having support has on a person’s life.
The LSE research demonstrates that sitting behind the squeeze is a huge funding shortfall:
- Government spending on social care would have had to rise by an additional £1.6 billion, just to keep pace with demographic pressures.
In fact research by the Association of Adult Social Services Directors (ADASS), shows that adult social care budgets have actually been reduced by £2.68 billion over the last three years.
Richard Hawkes, chair of the Care and Support Alliance, says:
“This research lifts the lid on the true scale of the social care crisis since the start of the recession.
“Chronic underfunding has left nearly half a million older and disabled people, who need support to do the basics, like getting up or out of the house, cut out of the care system.
“Cash-strapped councils have also squeezed the care packages of those still receiving support.
“The Government has put forward strong proposals in its Care Bill, which will greatly improve a social care system which is on its knees.
“But it’s becoming clear that a huge number of older and disabled people will not see any of the benefits of the new system, because of plans to tightly restrict who gets care.
“This will place huge pressure on family carers.
“We want the Government to have the courage to see its bold plans through, and make sure that those who need support to live independently – to get up, get washed, and get dressed, and get out of the house – get council care.
“To do this, the Government needs to commit to properly funding the social care system.”
Care and Support Bill
MPs are set to debate the Care Bill for the first time this week. The CSA has called the bill ‘a real achievement’ and praised a series of positive amendments to the Care Bill, including the right to an independent advocate for some of the most vulnerable people.
However, outside of parliamentary debates, restricted access and funding remain issues.
The Government is planning to restrict the number of people who can benefit from the new system.
According to the London School of Economics, setting the threshold at ‘substantial’ means approximately 362,000 older and disabled people will not receive any support from their council. They will have to pay for their own care without their costs being capped.
The Care and Support Alliance is calling on the Government to set eligibility at ‘moderate’ so as many people as possible benefit from the new system, and get the preventative support that keeps them from falling into crisis and ending up in A&E.
The final decision on where the national threshold will be set will be published for consultation in spring next year and voted on in autumn 2014.
The Government announced a £3.8 billion Integration Transformation Fund.
But the Local Government Association has said that it is an important development but “if the Government continues to cut council budgets then the good intentions of the fund will be damaged and it will do no more than slow the growing gap between supply and demand for social care.”
Charities, councillors and social services directors recently came together for the first time to call on the Chancellor to address the black hole in social care funding, which means vulnerable people are going without community care, becoming isolated, falling into crisis and ending up in A&E. The joint letter came as experts continue to highlight the link between pressure on A&E and a lack of preventative social care.
According to LSE to set eligibility at ‘moderate’ the Government would need to increase funding for social care by £2.8bn a year.
More on the LSE research
The research, conducted by the Personal Social Services Research Unit at the London School of Economics, examines expenditure and use within the social care system over a seven-year period, 2005/6 – 2012/13. It takes into account inflation and socio-demographic changes.
It reveals significant reductions in service provision – both in terms of the numbers of people receiving care, and in terms of the amount of money being spent on social care.
- Half a million older and disabled people who would have received social care five years ago, now receive no support
- The number of people receiving social care has plummeted for five years in a row – by a total of 347,000 since 2008
- This includes:
- 250,000 fewer older people
- 97,000 fewer disabled people
- When demographic change is taken into account, this number actually increases to 483,000
- The research shows that Government spending on social care would have had to rise by £1.61 billion over the past five years, just to keep pace with demographic pressures
- This includes:
- £1.53 billion more for older people
- £0.08 billion more for disabled people
Older and disabled people speak out
The Alliance asked older and disabled people and their families on Twitter what social care means to them:
– Social care helps me get to the toilet & have a bath. It means someone prepares me meals & makes sure I have a drink
– My son survives with social care. No more. No less. Take it away from him and he will not survive.
Notes to the editor
For media enquiries, please contact Daniel Mazliah, Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org / 0207 619 7203.
The new LSE report, Jose-Luis Fernandez and Tom Snell (2013) Changes in the patterns of social care provision in England: 2005/6 to 2012/13, London: Personal Social Services Research Unit, London School of Economics, is available to view at http://www.pssru.ac.uk/archive/pdf/dp2867.pdf . For a briefing note on the research, visit the Care and Support Alliance website http://careandsupportalliance.wordpress.com/
About the Care and Support Alliance:
- Set up in July 2009, the C&SA is a consortium of over 75 organisations that represent and support older and disabled people, including disabled children, those with long-term conditions and their families, and campaigns to keep adult care funding and reform on the political agenda. http://careandsupportalliance.wordpress.com/
[i] Social Care Legal Reform IA; 2.5 table 8 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-government-published-a-series-of-impact-assessments-alongside-the-care-bill
[ii] Under Fair Access to Care Services (FACS) there are four social care categories: Critical – life is, or will be, threatened; Substantial – abuse or neglect has occurred or will occur; there is, or will be, an inability to carry out the majority of personal care or domestic routines; Moderate – there is, or will be, an inability to carry out several personal care or domestic routines; Low – there is, or will be, an inability to carry out one or two personal care or domestic routines; http://www.scie.org.uk/publications/guides/guide33/files/facs-leaflet.pdf (p4)