Campaigners slam care spending cut threats

Anne Sykes from Age UK Teesside.

Anne Sykes from Age UK Teesside.

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Thousands of over 50s could be at risk because of cuts to spending on care, charity bosses have warned.

Age UK Teesside, which provides support in areas including Hartlepool, highlighted problems facing local authority social services departments.

This is a silent disgrace which is being repeated in towns across the North East and elsewhere in the country. Many older people are sacrificing their dignity because they can’t get the support they need

Anne Sykes, chief executive of Age UK Teesside

Chief executive Anne Sykes said: “Day to day tasks such as going to the toilet, getting dressed, making a meal or shopping can be almost impossible for older people without help.

“This is a silent disgrace which is being repeated in towns across the North East and elsewhere in the country. Many older people are sacrificing their dignity because they can’t get the support they need.”

She added: “The Tees local authorities, NHS and charities are all working very hard to deal with this huge and growing problem, but their hands are tied by funding cuts.”

Charity chair Hannah Bows urged local people to support a petition calling on the Government to stop further cuts to funding in the coming five years. It is available at www.ageuk.org.

Coun Carl Richardson, Chair of Hartlepool Council’s Adult Services Committee, said cuts were putting immense pressure on the council but it was doing everything it could to protect vulnerable residents by providing them with support to be safely cared for in their own homes when possible.

“There is no doubt the Government cuts are having a major impact on our ability to deliver services and it would be much better if the Government concentrated its efforts on closing the loophole which currently enables some major companies to avoid paying their fair share of tax – a move which would save billions of pounds.”

He said the council and key partner organisations would make the “most effective use of the scarce resources made available to us.”

Over the last five years the council has seen its main grant from Central Government cut by almost 40 per cent.

Over the next three years, it anticipates it will have to make a further £14m of savings to balance the books due to Government cuts.