Annual spending on social care is hundreds of millions of pounds lower than a decade ago, research has suggested.
The TUC found that in 112 of the 150 responsible local authorities in England, social care spending per head of the population was still lower than 2010.
It is 8 per cent below the level in 2010 for England overall, while regional reductions range from 18 per cent in London to 5 per cent in the South-East, East Midlands and east of England, the report said.
The TUC found that in 112 of the 150 responsible local authorities in England, social care spending per head of the population was still lower than 2010 (stock image used)
The union organisation said this year’s spending review must fully offset the cuts of the previous decade and establish future rises which will allow local authorities to meet increasing demand and improve pay and conditions for staff.
The TUC also called for funding to fill social care vacancies.
Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, said: ‘When the country needed them, social care workers stepped up.
‘Care workers looked after older and disabled people in the midst of a pandemic, often without the right PPE, and often for low wages and no sick pay.
‘Now it’s time to fix the broken system.
‘Social care is badly underfunded. Pay and conditions for care workers are dreadful, and families can’t be sure of high-quality, affordable care when a family member needs it.
‘As we face mass unemployment, ministers should act to unlock the 120,000 existing social care vacancies right now, and they should put investment in social care at the heart of our national recovery plan.
‘Social care jobs should be decent jobs on fair pay, at the heart of every community. Ministers can’t spend another decade hiding from the social care crisis.’
Christina McAnea, Unison assistant general secretary, said: ‘Chronic underfunding of the care sector has been a huge problem for many years.
‘It shouldn’t have taken a devastating pandemic for politicians to realise this.
‘This TUC analysis shows clearly how spending cuts are having a severe effect in many parts of the UK.
‘That means lower quality services for the vulnerable and poverty wages for hard-working care workers.
‘After repeated failure by successive governments to get a grip of reforming the sector, we can’t wait any longer.’
Frances O’Grady (pictured), TUC general secretary, said that social care workers ‘stepped up’ when the country needed them
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: ‘We recognise the challenges facing the social care sector and we are doing everything we can to support it.
‘We are providing councils with access to an additional £1.5billion for adult and children’s social care this year on top of maintaining £2.5billion of existing social care grants, and we will support local authorities to meet rising demand and continue to stabilise the social care system.
‘In addition we have made £3.7billion available to councils in England so they can address pressures on local services caused by the pandemic, including in adult social care.
‘We know there is a need for a long-term solution for social care and are looking at a range of proposals as part of our commitment to bringing forward a plan that puts the sector on a sustainable footing for the future.’