Council social care leaders are having to find millions of pounds of extra savings this year despite winter pressures approaching, a new survey has revealed.
The findings by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) and the Local Government Association (LGA) show at least a third of English councils face having to find an extra £84m despite the sector already planning care budget cuts of £806m.
The survey also warns that almost a quarter of a million older and disabled people are waiting for care to start, direct payments or their care needs to be assessed.
ADASS president Beverley Tarka said: ‘Social care leaders and their teams are struggling to find savings and meet people’s needs at least minimally, but they can’t perform miracles from already overstretched budgets.
‘Thousands of people are waiting for their council to assess their care needs and some of these people will reach crisis point and end up in hospital this winter, because they haven’t got the support they need in time.’
David Fothergill, chairman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, said: ‘Councils are facing severe funding and demand pressures, meaning finances are under strain like never before.
‘The easy savings have long since gone. Councils are being faced with tough decisions about cutting valued services, increasing council tax and fees and charges during a cost-of-living crisis.
‘Immediate investment is needed in the Autumn Statement in order to address unmet and under-met need and ensure timely access to social care for all who need it.’
The survey forms the second part of ADASS’s Autumn Survey. The first part last week highlighted the limited availability of preventative services as the NHS adjusted its waiting list plans amid heightened pressure on hospitals.