Norfolk is among the worst-hit in adult social care crisis, report shows
PUBLISHED: 12:30 19 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:06 19 July 2019
Archant Norfolk 2015
Norfolk has been among the worst affected counties in England by years of cuts to social care to older people, research has revealed.
Care in Places, a report commissioned by the Salvation Army, shows the change in Norfolk County Council (NCC) had around £7,000 per person per year available to spend on residents needing care in later life in 2014, meaning it was ranked 137 of 150 council areas looked at.
At the other end of the scale, the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark both had around £30,000 to spend per person per year.
The Salvation Army's Dean Pallant said the difference showed regional authorities such as Norfolk had been unfairly hit by social care cuts.
He said: "People are living longer and the population is ageing, the adult social care bill is rising but the local authority funding streams aren't enough to cover the demand, especially in areas where there are not many businesses or people to tax.
"The government must prioritise its spending and properly fund adult social care.
This Salvation Army analysis proves that local authorities are being asked to achieve the impossible.
Mr Pallant said the idea that council's could raise enough money to pay for older people's care through taxes was a myth.
He said: "Put simply, you can't squeeze local businesses for more tax if your local businesses are struggling."
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Care in Places showed NCC's spending power - in 2019 terms - had dropped from £7,128 in 2011 to £7,048 in 2014, a change of -1.1pc.
The report focused on the change from 2011 to 2014, as this time frame included significant reforms to local government funding. It states: "Data limitations precluded the use of more up to date figures."
The report found that some authorities were able to raise up to five times more revenue than others, and said it did not follow that areas with lower populations did not need to raise as much money.
Mr Pallant added: "The Salvation Army's residential care homes see the impact of this funding flaw every day. We are caring for people who don't have the savings to pay for their own care and stepping in where the council can't pay for the care."
Social care costs: One family's struggles
To illustrate the shortfall in social care funding, the Salvation Army used the example of a 73-year-old woman called Sue who lives at the charity's care home in North Walsham.
Sue's husband, Fred, 82, pays around £800 a month directly to NCC to subsidise the cost of his wife's care.
But what the local authority then pays doesn't cover the true costs of Sue's care and so the church and charity also pay a top up.
The 82-year-old, who himself has suffered two heart attacks, said: "I am worried about the costs of the top up. It seems very unfair.
"I looked at a number of other homes, and none of them were suitable."
Mr Pallant added: "In a few days we will know who our new prime minster is. His priority must be to set a proper timetable for the long-awaited green paper on adult social care as that will be an opportunity to rethink how we fund caring for older people."