United Kingdom

Families are left to suffer as Boris Johnson puts off vital social care reforms

Hundreds of thousands of pensioners are being denied vital help every year while Boris Johnson puts off publishing his long-promised reforms for social care.

Of 1.37million requests for support last year, only 548,450 were granted, new figures show – a gap of 822,000.

And, while demand for social care has risen over the past two years, the number of over-65s receiving it has fallen.

Applications increased by more than 50,000 between 2017/18 and 2019/20 while approvals fell by almost 17,000, according to analysis by the Labour Party.

It means there are more than 67,000 people who would have received care in 2017 that are not getting it.

The full extent of the scale of the social care crisis emerged after Mr Johnson cancelled a crunch meeting with Chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday to decide whether to fund a lifetime cap on the amount individuals must pay toward their own care.

Campaigners want billions more pounds ploughed into the system to ensure that everyone has the help they need.

But Mr Sunak is concerned about the huge cost, which could reach £10billion a year.

Hundreds of thousands of pensioners are being denied vital help every year while Boris Johnson puts off publishing his long-promised reforms for social care. Of 1.37million requests for support last year, only 548,450 were granted, new figures show – a gap of 822,000 [Stock image]

It is understood that the Prime Minister wants a cap set at around £50,000, but the Treasury is pushing for it to be set higher, at around £86,000.

This would be cheaper but fewer families would be helped.

Liz Kendall, Labour's social care spokesman, said her party's research highlighted the growing numbers in need of social care support.

She added: 'After a decade of Tory cuts, the shocking fact is that our care workers can't deliver services to all those who need it. This provides neither the dignity nor security that Boris Johnson promised for older and disabled people.

'Almost two years after he promised to fix this crisis, too many people are being left alone and distressed, families are providing even more hours of care, and care workers are stretched to breaking point.

It is understood that the Prime Minister (pictured) wants a cap set at around £50,000 for social care spending, but the Treasury is pushing for it to be set higher, at around £86,000

'As we live for longer, we need a social care system that is fit for purpose and tackles the long-standing, deep-rooted problems in the sector. The Government now must bring forward plans for social care reform as a matter of urgency.'

According to the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, £8billion has been cut from adult social care budgets since 2010.

Labour's analysis shows that the situation is even worse if the whole adult social care system, which covers working-age people with disabilities as well as retirees, is considered.

The figures show that two million people asked their council for help last year, but just 830,000 received it.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: 'Until the Government fulfils the Prime Minister's promise to fix social care, too many older people are doomed to go on suffering.'

Health minister Nadine Dorries yesterday told the Commons health and social care committee that the Government was committed to providing reform to social care before the end of this year.

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