William Eichler 10 November 2015

The social care system is facing a ‘financial black hole’

The social care system is facing a ‘financial black hole’ image

Over half of disabled people using social care can’t get the support they need due to a ‘financial black hole’ in funding, according to Scope.

New research published by the disability charity found that 55% of disabled people who receive social care struggle to get the help they need to live independent lives, and 33% expect this situation to get worse.

The report, entitled Disabled people’s experiences of social care, surveyed 515 disabled people in England and also discovered that 10% fear they will lose social care support entirely in the next five years.

The social care system has lost £4.6bn in the last five years and resulted in 400,000 fewer people receiving care.

The charity has submitted its report to the Treasury ahead of this month’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) and made an urgent call for a sustainable funding solution for the social care system.

Further findings in the report included:

• 83% of disabled people don’t have enough hours in their care package.
• 41% of disabled people don’t get choice or control over their social care.
• Only 18% of disabled people get the right social care.
• More than half of social care users under 35 want help to be able to work or look for a job, but only 13% are currently getting this support.

Mark Atkinson, Scope’s chief executive, said: ‘Social care enables disabled people to get up, get dressed and get out of the house. It means people can live independently, work, volunteer, participate in society, contribute economically and live full, meaningful lives.’

‘But the social care funding gap’, he continued, ‘is growing by at least £700m a year because of increasing demand, higher care costs, the new living wage and a reduction in grants from central government to councils.’

‘Councils have repeatedly warned of the severe consequences of this financial black hole’, he added.

Responding to the report, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, the Local Government Association (LGA) community wellbeing spokesperson, said: ‘Councils have prioritised social care despite wider funding pressures across local authorities, but sadly the findings in this report are symptomatic of a social care system which is in crisis.’

Echoing Scope’s call for an increase in social care funding at this month’s Spending Review, the councillor went on to warn:

‘We need to see a change to the current funding system which, over the last five years, has seen an increase in funding for the NHS but a decrease in funding for social care. This threatens to leave councils struggling to commission the essential support which keeps people out of hospital and living healthier and happier lives in their communities.’

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