Funding for social care for older people has been cut annually by a 'devastating' £610 million.Following austerity measures implemented by the coalition Government, data from Age UK reveals care budgets for older people have been reduced by 8.4%.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.The Government has disputed these figures, gathered from numbers held by councils under the Freedom of Information Act.
Based on the responses of 110 authorities, the figures were reached after comparing the net expenditure on older people's social care between 2011/12 and 2010/11.Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director at 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.'We anticipate these cuts will condemn many more older people to a miserable existence behind closed doors struggling to keep safe and well.'Age UK also discovered that charges on services' provisions, such as home help and day care centres, was rising at some 61 councils.
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.
The Government currently has the Dilnot Commission in place to work on proposals for future funding on social care. The Dilnot Commission is due to publish its recommendations in a week.Increasing life expectancy is creating a multibillion-pound black hole in elderly care on which the political parties have so far failed to agree a solution.Michelle Mitchell continued: '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.'The Government has said that it will invest a further £7.2bn in care over the next four years. However, this money does not protect against the deep cuts that local councils faced as a whole.
Age UK figures show that services have not been protected, despite the extra investment.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 'Care in Crisis' 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.