Councils all across the country have been suffering cuts to the money allocated by central government to fund the care of elderly or otherwise vulnerable adults. A recent report, however, suggests that – with the exception of London – these cuts have been the most drastic in the north east.
A study by the think tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) shows that such funding in the north east has been cut by 18%.
The IFS figures – adjusted for inflation – show that adult social care funding in our region fell from £479 per person in 2011/12 to £395 per person in 2015/16.
Adult social care cuts across the country have varied. While London and the north east have suffered cuts of 18%, such funding has been cut by 13% in the north west and 17% in the west midlands.
On average, councils across England have suffered an 11% cut in their adult social care budgets. Certain areas – such as the east midlands, Yorkshire and the south west – have had cuts below this average.
Polly Simpson, one of the authors of the Institute for Fiscal Studies report, said, “The spending cuts analysed in our report have been accompanied by a substantial fall in the number of people receiving social care: down 25% across England between 2009/10 and 2013/14 alone.”
“Cuts have therefore been delivered, in part, by removing care from many people, with those still receiving care presumably those with the highest needs.”
“What all this means for the quality of care received, the welfare of those no longer receiving care and other services like the NHS requires further research to answer.”
The director of resources at Newcastle City Council, Tony Kirkham, said, “Whereas we might have a much more rounded package of support, we are now trying to prevent deterioration rather than actually helping people to thrive.”
Barbara Keeley, Labour’s shadow minister for social care, said, “This report is a damning verdict on the government’s strategy for social care since 2010.”
“These cuts are hitting vulnerable people with care needs.”
“Over 80% of councils have had to make cuts to social care and one in ten councils have had to cut funding by more than a quarter.”
“It is particularly concerning that the areas with greatest need appear to have been cut the most.”
A report from December 2015, by the International Longevity Centre, found that one in ten people over 50 were not having their care needs met and that around 1.5 million people in the UK were providing over 50 hours per week of unpaid care.
The section of the population that needs the most care – those aged over 85 – has grown by 31% since 2005. Despite this, social care spending dropped by more than one fifth between 2005 and 2015.
A spokesperson for the charity Age UK said, “We estimate there are 1.2 million people who need help with the activities of daily living who are not getting it.”