SPENDING on social services has been slashed by £150million leaving more than 1.5 million frail pensioners and disabled people to fend for themselves at home, charities warned yesterday.
Help the Aged, Carers UK and Counsel and Care described the cut as "disgraceful" and said it meant 80 per cent of those in need of meals on wheels, or help with shopping or cleaning, now do not get state support.
The three charities point to a new NHS report into social services spending which shows there was a drop of £150million in real terms in funding for older people's care last year, a fall of two per cent when inflation is taken into account.
It is estimated there are 2,450,000 older people in England with care needs and six million carers, whose "underpaid and under-appreciated" work saves the economy £87billion a year.
Emily Holzhausen, director of policy for Carers UK, said: "It's simply unacceptable to cut expenditure like this and expect unpaid carers to cover the shortfall.
"The last thing the country needs is for the millions of carers who combine work and care to face giving up their jobs because of cuts to the services supporting their loved-ones."
Paul Cann, director of policy for Help the Aged, said: "It's disgraceful that older people have once again been the victim of spending cuts.
"For many, a two per cent decrease will mean a reduced care service or no service at all. In reality this might mean people can't get up in the morning, leave the house or shop for food.
"It simply doesn't make sense that despite the growing numbers of older people needing care, the overall amount of care provided is decreasing."
Daily Express, 13th February 2009