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Cuts ‘forcing people into homes’

The Government is wasting an “extraordinary” amount of taxpayers’ money by squeezing grants for older and disabled people and forcing them into care homes, Labour will claim.

Shadow care minister Liz Kendall said cuts to council budgets mean the number of people getting adaptations to their homes funded is down by 5,500, or 12%, since 2010. Labour obtained the figures through freedom of information requests.

And in a speech marking the latest salvo in the Opposition’s summer campaign, she will claim the decision means higher spending elsewhere.

Ms Kendall will say: “Home adaptations are a lifeline for older and disabled people, helping them to stay living independently in their own homes.

“The Government’s huge cuts to local authority budgets mean councils have been forced to reduce the amount of money they spend on these vital adaptations.

“But this is a false economy, as more older people end up going to hospital or into a care home when they don’t need to. This is terrible for them and their families and is an extremely poor use of taxpayers’ money, too.”

Taking up Labour’s summer pitch on “The Choice”, the shadow minister will claim voters must pick between “fragmented services and money wasted under the Tories” or the Opposition’s proposals for a full merger of health and care services.

Ms Kendall will accuse the Government of forcing through finance-driven reforms which have caused “chaos” in the NHS and claim Labour will be “straight” with voters about the need to change services.

Ms Kendall will say: “It will be a choice between a Tory Government, which has thrown the system into chaos, then blamed NHS staff for not coping and left patients and families to struggle on their own.

“Or a Labour Government, which will put in the place the real reforms we need so everyone gets the right care, in the right place, at the right time.”

Earlier this week, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced a £250 million drive to eliminate “unacceptable” 12-month waits by performing more than 100,000 additional treatments in the NHS over the summer.

He acknowledged that the focus on “long waiters”, whose conditions are often more complex and time-consuming, will mean the NHS missing 18-week waiting-time targets over the coming months.

But he insisted that this will constitute a “managed breach” of the key target and said that the 18-week target would be met again by the start of 2015.

A Conservative spokesman said: ” Labour did nothing for 13 years to improve social care. They presided over a system of ineffective, wasteful spending – and now they’re proposing a new death tax on hard-working taxpayers’ estates.

“We’re creating a more efficient and better service that people can rely on by integrating health and social for the first time.

“This means people will have the peace of mind that they will get the care they need.”

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