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12 February 2013
The Government's 'social care solution' will fall short unless it tackles the crisis in care and support for disabled people warns the disability charity Scope.
The warning comes as two important groups of MPs and Peers join forces to investigate a system that is failing to ensure disabled people have the support to meet basic needs including eating, washing, dressing or getting out of the house.
The Government has outlined plans for reforming social care. The cap on costs and the raising of the means-testing threshold will provide many with peace of mind.
But disabled people – who represent a third of social care users – are telling Scope they are more concerned with getting support in the first place.
Last month Scope – along with four other leading disability charities – lifted the lid on scale of social care crisis for disabled people.
The Other Care Crisis
The charities' report showed there's a £1.2 billion funding gap in social care for disabled people and as a result some 40% of disabled people do not get enough social care support to meet basic needs including eating, washing, dressing or getting out of the house.
In a bid to focus the debate on the social care crisis for disabled people, the Local Government All Party Parliamentary Group and the All Party Parliamentary Disability Group are launching an inquiry into adult social care for working age disabled people.
Scope, which is supporting the work, is inviting organisations to submit written evidence to the inquiry.
Heather Wheeler MP, Chair, Local Government APPG said:
“The Government recognises there is a need for reform in social care, we have already had some key developments including the funding discussions following the Dilnot Commission and also the Draft Care and Support Bill.
“For the All Party Parliamentary Group for Local Government social care is a major concern, ultimately it is still local authorities who commission and manage care at the local level. We have already contributed to the debate on social care for older people and now, through this inquiry with the expertise of Scope, we are working to answer key questions on how local authorities can provide high-quality and personalised support for working disabled people.
“Our inquiry will hear from a range of social care users, charities, experts and local authorities and I hope will make a valuable contribution to the debate on how to best deliver social care to meet the needs of working disabled people in England.
Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive of the disability charity Scope, said:
“There is a crisis in social care for disabled people. The consequences of not addressing are it are stark. More and more disabled people will not get the support they need to get up, get dressed, eat properly or go out to work.
“I am delighted that two very important APPGs have joined forces to shine a light on this issue.
“We need a social care solution that ensures disabled people can live with the basic dignity that everyone else takes for granted. In 2013 we should not accept anything less."
The APPG inquiry
Scope is working alongside both All Party Parliamentary groups to gather a broad range of evidence from organisations and disabled people that have an interest in social care for working age disabled adults.
The four main areas of inquiry will be:
1. The right to independent living: Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People states that all disabled people should be supported to live independently in the home of their choosing, and to be included in their community. However working age disabled people overwhelmingly find that their social care packages do not allow them choice and control, and hold them back in terms of employment, volunteering and leisure activities – meaning they are often excluded from their local communities.
2. Impact of changes to eligibility: By 2014/2015, local authority budgets will have shrunk by 28 per cent. Shrinking budgets means that local authorities have been raising the threshold at which disabled people become eligible for support. In 2005, 50 per cent of local authorities set their eligibility criteria at 'moderate' needs. But in 2011 the figure fell to 18 per cent. Recent research shows that the raising of thresholds in many local authorities has meant that disabled people are failing to have their basic needs met, are withdrawing from society and are increasingly dependent upon their family.
3. The value of preventative care: The 2012 White Paper had a clear focus on preventative care. Early intervention and proper integration of services can have a significant impact in reducing the need for more expensive social care interventions at a later date. In 2011, the Audit Commission found that 70 per cent of councils reported efficiencies by using preventative services for adult social care. At the same time a recent British Red Cross/ComRes poll found almost two thirds (64 per cent) of councillors across England have seen funding for preventative and low-level social care cut or frozen since the last local election.
4. Dilnot Funding Proposals and Working Age Disabled People: In 2011 the Dilnot Commission made recommendations for a new funding system for social care which aimed to make the system sustainable, fairer and easier to understand. However the needs and interests of working aged disabled people must be fully incorporated into funding reforms for these aims to be fully realised.
The deadline for written evidence is 19 March 2013.