A survey found that 46 out of 87 English councils are concerned about funding for services that prevent or delay people developing more dependent care needs.
The survey was conducted as part of BBC English Region’s Living Longer project, which investigates how different areas in England will be affected by the ageing population. 58% of England’s councils responded; almost all (86 of the 87) reported that they were already investing in intervention services in order to help people regain their independence.
Many fear that budget cuts will mean thousands of frail and vulnerable people losing the home care services that they depend on.
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “It's down to each local authority to protect the most vulnerable and frail in their community by promising to preserve local care funding and spend every penny of the £2 billion earmarked by the Treasury on social care”.
However, many worry that social care services will not receive all the extra funding, especially since they can comprise up to 50% of councils’ controllable budgets. Richard Jones, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Services, warns that tough decisions lie ahead.
“Inevitably people will have to pay more towards the care they receive; the level of fees councils pay for services will be reviewed and in some places eligibility criteria, which define who is able to get a service, might have to be changed”.