Cost of care to 'double' in a generation
The cost of care for the country’s rapidly ageing population is set to almost double in a generation unless government urgently introduces reform, local government leaders have warned.
Analysis by the Local Government Association published this week showed taxpayers would have to pay an additional £12 billion every year to fund care for the elderly by 2030. Currently the annual bill to taxpayers is £14.5 billion, but the new figures show that this will increase by 84 per cent to £26.7 billion in less than 20 years.
This would see an average additional annual bill of £79 million for every council responsible for providing adult services or a further £230 for every man, women and child in the country.
In addition, more than a quarter of a million people could be left having to pay for their care costs - which can run into tens of thousands of pounds annually - without any support from the state. This is an increase of 106 per cent, from the current number of 128,000 to 264,000.
The figures have prompted fears that without government action councils will be left unable to provide anything except for care and waste services.
Councils, which are facing a 28 per cent funding cut from government, already allocate more than 40 per cent of their budgets to fund care services for around 3 per cent of the population.
The growing financial care crisis is attributed to the combined pressures of a rapidly aging population, growing demand, escalating service costs and a £1 billion reduction in councils’ social care budgets, which have been compounded by further recent government funding cuts.
It’s projected that the country’s rapidly aging population will exacerbate these pressures with the number of people over the age of 75 set to increase by 64 per cent, compared with a 16 per cent increase of the total population, by 2030.
Local government leaders are now warning that these trends, coupled with the impact of government cuts until at least 2017, are creating the ‘perfect storm’ for a crisis in how we care for the most vulnerable members of society. They fear that without urgent action we are fast approaching a point of no return where the problem will become too big to tackle.
David Rogers, chair of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, said: ‘Without urgent reform we are going to see the cost of providing care for the elderly soaking up every last penny of council budgets.
‘In just a generation we are going to get to the point where councils are unable to provide any services at all that are not statutory, and offer little more than care services for the vulnerable.’
The LGA is now calling on government to urgently clarify if it will tackle the issues it needs to to address the funding crisis in adult social care.
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