It may be broke, but do we really need to fix it?
By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson
There has been a 16% reduction in public spending on social care since 2010 and the Government intends to get another couple of clicks of the pawl on the rachet of austerity by pruning another half-billion from the social care spend in 2015/16.
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) isn’t happy. In its latest Budget Survey it warns of ‘serious consequences’ in the wake of continued cuts to social services’ budgets. Will the Government take any notice of them? Before I offer an opinion on that, let me crunch some basic numbers:
About 16% of the population in England is aged over 65. Present figures show that only about one-in-five (20%) of older people end up actually requiring social care in one form or another. Twenty percent of 16 is 3.2 so we can say that 3.2% of the population are going to be in receipt of social care. Now of that 3.2%, more than half of them, I’m guessing a bit here but let’s say 60%, will be self-funders so that brings the number of older people requiring publicly-funded social care down to a little under 2% of the entire population.
What about the care cap? I think the Government sees this as a very cheap way of being seen to have addressed the issue: ‘We’ve brought in the Care Act and the cap – what more do you want?
I think that’s all that the blinkered bean-counters at the Treasury can see. Penny-wise and pound-foolish, they seem not to take account of the care burden on the ‘hard working families’ of the nation and they appear determined not to acknowledge the easily discerned relationship between inadequate social care and older people needlessly occupying hospital beds.
I’m not sanguine about the Government making any policy changes on this; four out of five older people don’t need any care and are more worried about the NHS and their pensions. Most of those who do need care can jolly well pay for it themselves and the few poor devils who are left relying on local authorities probably don’t vote the right way, if at all.
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