Responding to the National Audit Office’s report into the financial sustainability of local authorities, Margaret Willcox, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), said:
“Social care is an essential support for us when we are older or disabled. Local government knows this because it knows its local communities. So despite the stark reality of the biggest cuts in public services, it has prioritised its citizens with the greatest needs.
“However, local councils have had to make terribly difficult decisions that mean that fewer people get the trusted care they need, care providers are closing homes, while in some parts of the country there are no home carers to get people safely home from hospital.
“Councils wisely spent £1 billion in emergency government funding last year to address the risk of failure, which is reflected in fewer delayed transfers of care. But people are living longer and costs are rising, including the welcome national living wage.
“Adult social care simply cannot continue with short term fixes. There are more than a million people with unmet need, with around a third of these coping with loneliness much or all of the time. Councils’ ability to prioritise prevention measures – key to long-term savings to the public purse – are being impacted due to funding pressures
“Government needs to grasp the nettle and talk with all of us as responsible citizens about how we value our needs for care and support and how we pay for it, not just for next winter but also in 25 years’ time.”