Posted: 09/05/2013 23:35

At last, after three years of cuts to social care, there now seems to be a growing awareness that there may be a problem in cutting this vital public service. Sadly that problem, at least as far as the newspapers see it, is that this may lead to cuts in the NHS budget. There seems to be much less concern that the cuts to social care have already led to radical reductions in support for disabled children, disabled people, older people and their families.

The recent announcement by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services follows two years of similar announcements and will precede at least two more. Similar cuts are underway in children services. By 2015 social care will be cut by over £8 billion - that is a cut of about 33%. This is an astonishing reduction in support - but it flows inevitably from the 42% cut in local government funding that the government planned in 2010. It makes a nonsense of all the government's commitments to reform social care funding.
Cuts of this severity were always going to affect the NHS. Social care is often the efficient alternative to healthcare - a sensible government would be shifting resources into social care first.
For people with disabilities the radical reduction in social care will now be combined with deep cuts to benefits - both disability and non-disability related benefits. The cumulative impact of all these cuts will be to impose the greatest burden of cuts on people with the severest disabilities.
Earlier this year I wrote a report called A Fair Society? how the cuts target disabled peopleon behalf of the Campaign for a Fair Society. Working from the government's own data it was clear that the average annual impact of cuts in services and income for people with the severest disabilities will be nearly £9,000 by 2015. This is 19 times the burden of cuts faced by the rest of us.