Think Tank Points to Bleak Social Care Future

A prominent think tank has suggested that adult social care services in the United Kingdom face severe pressure in the future.

The International Longevity Centre describes the situation for social care in Britain as bleak.

In his recent autumn spending review, the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced measures that will lead to a rise in care budgets in the future.

However, despite the statements of the Chancellor, the think tank suggested that the spending review measures will do little more than paper over existing cracks.

The scale of the issue according to the International Longevity Centre is rather severe, with the think tank indicating that current provisions lead to 1.8 million people having care needs completely unmet.

A government spokesman said authorities now have access to an extra £3.5 billion to provide care for vulnerable people.

Osborne had made provisions in the spending review for local authorities to raise council tax by as much as 2 per cent in order to protect social care budgets.

In addition, the amount of money available for the Better Care Fund was increased.

However, the report produced by the think tank suggests that the increasing concentration of elderly people in the UK will pose almost insoluble problems to the existing care system in the absence of further funding.

The report stated that 1.86 million people over the age of 50 in England had unmet care needs in 2012/13, a rise of 7 per cent since 2006/07.

Commenting on at the findings of the International Longevity Centre, Ben Franklin, ILC-UK’s head of economics of an ageing society, was rather pessimistic about the social care situation in Britain.

“The future for adult social care looks bleak. The social care settlement will be insufficient to meet the growing care needs of an ageing population and does little more than paper over the cracks which many of those who are in need of care are already falling through.”

Franklin also took the time to comment on the consequences of the existing goals in social care funding.

“While some will be able to rely on family to support their needs, increased prevalence of unpaid caring may have adverse consequences for those providing support, for the economy as a whole due to reduced employment, and without additional investment may even lead to an erosion in the quality of care provided.”

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s charity director, was of the opinion that the report should be a wake-up call for both the public and legislators.

“Over the last 20 years, the need to provide a system of childcare has been first recognised and then at least partially met, in order to enable more women to work and support decent family incomes. Now many of those same women, or sometimes their mothers, could find they have to leave work to care for their own ageing parents, because we are effectively dismantling our system of social care.”

Responding to the claims, a spokesman from the government suggested that the Better Care Fund provisions will enable councils with the greatest need to increase social care provision.

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