£12.5bn is the amount councils have lost since 2010 through cuts to central government grants
Central government cuts to local government funding have had a harmful impact on services, workers and the communities they serve.
Adult social care for older people (those aged 65 or more) is one of the largest responsibilities of local councils and one of the most vital services they provide.
Decades of underfunding, privatisation and recent years of government spending cuts have led to a crisis in social care funding, making it more difficult for workers to give older people the high quality care that they deserve.
Social care budgets in England have lost £1.95bn over the past 10 years and the proportion of the UK’s population aged over 65 is growing rapidly. Services are already struggling to meet the extra demand. To provide the same level of care available in 2010/11 to this increasing population, the social care sector would need an extra £5.39bn by 2020/21.
Social care workers who work with older people have an important role in our society. As the UK’s population gets older, we will rely on their support and expertise more intensely and for longer. UNISON’s Save Care Now campaign has revealed the pressures that homecare workers face, including being forced to limit care visits to 15 minutes, zero-hours contracts and not being paid the national minimum wage.
With more cuts to spending on public services on the horizon, the conditions of social care workers are even more at risk and must be defended from further damage.
This year, the Save Our Local Services campaign is focusing on supporting our activists to campaign against spending cuts to social care services for older people.
Throughout the autumn, we will:
- publish a new Damage report that exposes the impact of social care cuts on workers and the older people they care for;
- raise awareness of the heartbreaking impact of cuts to adult social care services;
- hold an ‘SOS Day’, where activists will use our report findings to recruit and organise social care members and lobby local councillors and MPs to save our social care services.
Over the summer, we are surveying our members working in homecare, residential care, day centres and other services for older people to find out how cuts have affected their terms and conditions and their everyday work.
We are also collecting stories from service users – if you, a friend or a relative have used social care services for older people and have seen how spending cuts have changed the support you receive, we want to hear from you.