A growing funding crisis in services for the elderly and disabled across Mansfield, Ashfield and the rest of the county was not tackled by the government’s Autumn Statement. claim alarmed council chiefs.
Chancellor Philip Hammond announced he would be sticking to existing spending plans. But Nottinghamshire County Council says this will continue a downward trend in the financing of vital social-care services, even though demand is rising as people live longer with more complex conditions.
“There is a funding crisis in local government as a whole, and especially in social care, so I am dismayed at the government’s failure to act,” said Coun Alan Rhodes, leader of the county council.
“They say they want to address the needs of people who are just about managing, but what about those who can’t and aren’t managing?
“The council’s total budget for services in Nottinghamshire has been cut by £212 million since 2010, and our workforce has been reduced by more than a quarter. At the same time, there has been a huge increase in demand for social care, but there is no sign of any respite in funding cuts.”
The council will spend about £219 million on adult social-care services this year. But the number of people aged 65 and over is projected to increase by 23% by 2025.
“With more than 40% of the council’s reducing budget already being spent on social care for the elderly and disabled, it is inevitable they will continue to be adversely affected by more years of cuts,” added Coun Rhodes.
“Frustratingly, a properly funded system would actually save money by helping people retain their independence and manage conditions before they have to go into hospital.”
Meanwhile Ashfield’s Labour MP, Gloria De Piero, says families who are just about managing, commonly referred to as ‘JAMS’, were not helped by the Autumn Statement.
“It shows yet again that this government has little regard for hard-working people of low to middle incomes,” said Gloria. “It can find the cash to give tax breaks to the richest, but it has now frozen the benefits that low-wage earners rely on and failed to raise the living wage by any meaningful amount. Millions of people will be worse off through no fault of their own.”