The Labour Party has claimed up to 225,000 social care places could be axed, as councils struggle to fill funding gaps caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The party released figures yesterday (14 May), which claim 178,000 long-term adult social care places for over 65s, and 47,000 short-term places could be severely reduced or scrapped altogether if Whitehall fails to plug the funding gap for local authorities.
Labour claims councils are facing a £10bn coronavirus black hole and without extra funding, local authorities will have to introduce budget cuts of 21% across the board.
It estimates such cuts would mean adult social care budgets would be cut by a total of £3.5bn, while children’s social care would be cut by £2bn.
This Labour say is the equivalent of 225,000 adult social care places severely reduced or gone altogether.
Across the regions, it would mean 40,000 places would go in the Midlands alone and more than 30,000 in each of the North West, South East and London.
‘Local authorities are the biggest funders of social care in England – so when the government promised to stand behind councils through this crisis Labour supported them,’ said shadow local government secretary, Steve Reed.
‘But now ministers are breaking that promise, leaving councils with a £10bn black hole forcing 21% cuts across the board. Unless the Government drops those plans the frontline heroes we’re cheering today will lose their jobs tomorrow and the equivalent of 225,000 frail and frightened older people and vulnerable adults will lose the support they rely on,’ he added.
‘That would be a catastrophe for social care, disastrous for those who lose support as providers are forced out of business and would once again fail the very people putting their lives on the line to get us through this crisis.’
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