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Government funding cuts force a huge fall in adult social care workers in Reading

Posted on 28/02/2018 by

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The number of direct care roles employed by the council has also fallen over the same period

The number of Reading Borough Council employees working in adult social care has been slashed by nearly a third in just six years.

New analysis of social care workforce data shows the council employed 490 people in the sector in 2011 - but only 335 in 2017. That is a fall of 32 per cent.

The number working in direct care roles - those at the sharp end of adult social care - has dropped by 25 per cent in the same time.

There were 220 people working in direct care for the council in Reading, Berkshire, at the end of September 2011 but only 165 at the end of September 2017.

The figures - extracted from data published by NHS Digital - reflect a national trend in which cash-strapped councils have outsourced adult social care to arms-length companies and the private sector.

Adult social care refers to all help given to adults who are physically or mentally ill, or who have disabilities. It includes both personal care - like help with eating and bathing - and help with tasks like shopping and eating.

Despite the increasing demands of an ageing population, real-term spending by councils on adult social care fell from £18.3bn in 2010/11 to £17.0bn in 2015/16.

That is largely because of government cuts which have seen council budgets fall by 26 per cent overall since 2010, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Reading council has had its Central Government funding slashed by £58 million since 2010.

When setting Reading council tax earlier this month leader Councillor Jo Lovelock said: "The cost of caring and protecting the most vulnerable adults and children in Reading will rise by at least £10 million next year.

"That is more than double what a 5.99 per cent council tax increase will raise."

Across England, there were 159,375 people working for councils in adult social care in 2011 and 109,275 in 2017.

That is a fall of 31 per cent, or 50,100 people.

The number in direct care roles was down from 89,105 to 52,835 - a drop of 41 per cent.

All numbers are rounded to the nearest five by NHS Digital.

Source: InYourArea