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By Debbie le Quesne

Pain for social care: Thank you Mr Osborne

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The season of goodwill is almost upon us, but it seems to have bypassed the care sector.

Social care is now facing deeper cuts after chancellor George Osborne announced he would slash an extra half a billion pounds from local authority budgets in 2014.

Oh yes . . . and the austerity measures will go on for an additional year until 2018.

Quite how the new cuts will drill down to care at the sharp end, I’m not sure, but suffice to say that the Local Government Association has already dubbed the move as “unsustainable”.

In his autumn statement, Mr Osborne said government funding for councils in 2014-15 would be reduced by a further two per cent than planned.

I want cheer, peace on Earth, festive favourites and life is La La Land, but what do I get? Gloom.

The new financial plans have prompted a warning from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services president Sarah Pickup. She says in a Community Care Online article : “All does is make the problem worse. We need additional resources, for adult social care in particular.”

Additional resources. I’d say so! How does Mr Osborne think we can deliver more for not just less, but a pittance?

Ms Pickup said councils faced limited options in making further cuts to adult care. “Some councils are already in a place where they are doing things that they couldn’t keep doing, like holding down fees for providers. You can’t keeping doing that because the providers will not be able to deliver the care.”

True. So why can’t Mr Osborne relies that. Or perhaps, the government really doesn’t care a damn about those needing our services.

Critically, Ms said the reduction announced yesterday would also make it harder for councils to implement plans to transform social care. I fear all we’ll be doing now is responding to crisis rather than paving a new way forward. Do you remember Mr Dilnot . .  .?

Community care reports; “The 2010 spending review set out cuts to local authorities of 28 per cent in real terms from 2011-15, partially compensated by annual transfers of NHS funding – worth £648m in 2011-12 and £622m in 2012-13 – to fund adult social care. The 2 per cent cut to council budgets announced is in addition to this.

“And though the chancellor did not announce further cuts to council funding in 2013-14, the Local Government Association said measures previously announced had added a possible £1bn in cuts for next year to the 2010 spending review plans.”

Merrick Cockell, chair of the Local Government Association, was quoted as saying: “So far local authorities have largely restricted the impact of cuts to discretionary areas such as culture and environmental services, with councils working hard to protect spending on social care for children and the elderly. But even these areas are now facing reductions. That impact will only increase in line with any further cuts.”

I need a strong coffee . . .

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