Britain’s ageing population means that more and more people are needing to access social care services.
But drastic funding cuts to our social care budgets mean that the system is struggling to cope with the increasing demand, and there are now 1.2 million older people in England living with unmet care needs.
The figures are shocking - since 2010, local authorities’ social care budgets have been cut by £4.6 billion, and in Brighton and Hove we have seen our council budget cut by 43.6 per cent. This means that vulnerable people in our community are unable to get the care and support they need, and nationwide there are now 400,000 fewer people receiving publicly funded social care.
This means that families are having to step in and plug the gaps themselves. A recent report by Age UK found that the families of one in four care home residents whose care is supposed to be free have actually been forced to pay ‘top up fees’ that can run into thousands of pounds each year.
The funding cuts are also having a real impact on the quality of care. Last month, a report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) revealed that one in four social care services are now failing on safety grounds, which means that thousands of the most vulnerable adults are being put at risk.
Years of chronic government underfunding have led to this crisis, and it is time for the Tories to realise that we cannot go on like this. The situation is only getting worse - at least one care home is now closing every week, and one in three nursing homes are failing.
I am calling on Theresa May to act urgently to make sure that councils like Brighton and Hove have the funding to provide quality social care for all those who need it.
Peter Kyle is the Labour MP for Hove.