The past six months have seen radical cuts to care budgets throughout the UK.
The ‘squeeze’ of financial restraints imposed on local authorities have been felt up and down the country throughout the majority of public sector services; but today a Coalition spokesman has admitted that elderly people are suffering because of hundreds of millions of pounds being cut from nursing and care home budgets.
In conversation with The Telegraph, Paul Burstow, the Liberal Democrat MP and care services minister, posed questions as to why councils continue to fail to pass on £2 billion of Government budget allocated to support vulnerable and disabled adults.
The Telegraph have today quoted Mr Burstow of accusing dozens of authorities of “clearly” failing to act “in the best interests” of their residents.
A number of councils are expected to be targeted with interventions to ensure that they “improve productivity” without sacrificing key services, he said.
The minister’s comments are being held as the first from a government spokesman to acknowledge the scale of the funding crisis and to accept that the money promised by the Chancellor last year has not reached the ‘front line’ of care services.
Mr Burstow told The Telegraph that government reports indicate that councils in the UK have had to cut £200 million from their spending on social care in cash terms over the past 12 months. However, the minister has previously said that councillors have “no excuse” for cutting budgets for services such as care homes and helpers who assist with daily tasks.
The charity-based organisation Age UK has warned that if the cuts continue and Local Authorities fail to develop the way they deliver care services, frail and elderly people will be at serious risk of being without the basic vital support they need.
Plans for a 2012 White Paper have been lodged as part of the Coalition’s defence and reformation of public services, and cross-party talks have been promised in an attempt to reach a consensus on the future of funding for elderly care.