MP for Newcastle North, Catherine McKinnell, has warned the government against slashing social care for the elderly in its forthcoming spending review.
‘It would be totally unacceptable if the government were to use deficit reduction as an excuse to cut essential services for those in later life,’ said Ms McKinnell. ‘Everyone understands that public spending must be reduced but this should never be achieved at the expense of elderly people who rely upon social care. These are some of the most vulnerable people in society and cutting care for older people would have an unforgivable impact upon their quality of life.’
Ms McKinnell’s comments came as the charity Age Concern said that cuts could amount to 25% of the current social care budget when they are announced on 20 October.
‘In Newcastle,’ Ms McKinnell continued, ‘the impact of cuts on such a huge scale would be devastating. According to research from the Personal Social Services Research Unit, by 2012 there could already be a shortfall of £1.75bn in funding for elderly social care. This would mean that Councils only have the funding to provide home care for around half the number eligible today, leaving thousands of frail older people as prisoners in their own homes.’
‘The elderly are already being asked to make huge sacrifices by the coalition government through their unnecessarily fast and deep spending cuts. They represent one of the key groups that we must try to protect from the effects of deficit reduction and they should not be targeted disproportionately by a crisis that was not of their making.’