The Chancellor is putting the safety of half a million older people at risk, warns Age UK as older people, wearing George Osborne masks, gathered at HM Treasury to force the Chancellor to ‘face up’ to the brutal reality of cuts to care in old age.
According to an exclusive report released today by Age UK, three out of four (77 per cent) of the 650,000 people in England who currently receive home-based care will be deprived of support. This means that 500,000 frail and vulnerable older people who currently rely on home-based care to stay independent and safe will lose these vital services if the Chancellor imposes a 25 per cent spending cut on social care. The research is by the Personal Social Services Research Unit at the LSE and University of Kent.
The Age UK report shows that a black hole of 2.2 billion pounds will open up over the next four years (the gap between the funding available and what is required to maintain existing levels of service). This focuses attention on the crisis facing older people who are housebound, frail, isolated and who rely on care at home. The loss of home-based care would put them at higher risk of neglect, declining health and for some, earlier death.
Age UK Charity Director Michelle Mitchell said,
“When this Government came into office, George Osborne said budgets must be slashed, but he also promised to bend over backwards to protect society’s most vulnerable. There are few people more vulnerable than the frail, sick and isolated who rely on council-funded care at home. Older people will be holding the Chancellor to his promise.
“As he gets ready to wield his spending axe, Age UK urges the Chancellor to think twice before cutting social care services. If care and support services are cut in line with government-wide targets, older people’s care will be devastated, thousands will lose the support they desperately need, and undoubtedly, lives will be lost.”
“Our research shows that after four years of spending cuts, local councils will only be able to afford care at home for one in four of the older people who currently receive council support. Once councils have paid for people in care homes without the means to support themselves, they simply will not have the money left for home-based care.”
The LSE and University of Kent research unit modelled the impact on older people’s care services of expected government-wide spending cuts of 25 per cent over the next four years.