Cuts could threaten home care in Havering

HOME help for Havering’s elderly and disabled could come to an end in the wake of the vast public sector cuts, the Local Government Association (LGA) warned.

The LGA, which represents 442 authorities in England and Wales, told MPs in a report that only those in most “critical” need would be supported in the future.

A �3bn funding shortfall could affect people with dementia, Parkinson’s disease and diabetes, it said.

“The stark reality facing adult social care is therefore a drastic reduction in the budget and a resultant very real impact on the thousands of people who rely on care and support services every day,” the report stated.

A spokesman for the LGA told the BBC that “virtually all” home help could be ended.

However, Havering Council pledged to protect services for the “most vulnerable”, and said plans were in place to deal with reduced future funding.

But a spokesman added the council was “under no illusion about the scale of the challenge.”

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Havering carer Mary Bell, 62 - who has been campaigning for better working conditions for home helpers - said: “People rely on us to get them up in the morning, wash them, feed them and sometimes medicate them.

“Some people do not see another person all day – we’re the only company they have and we’re only there for half an hour.

“What’s the alternative? There isn’t enough money to send all these people into care homes.”

Mary, who has been a carer for ten years, added: “The worst case scenario is that people will die in their homes with no-one noticing for weeks or months.”

Care minster, Paul Burstow, dismissed LGA reports as “scaremongering”.

“The spending review announced significant extra funding for social care for each of the next four years,” he said, “increasing to an extra �2bn of investment in 2014/15.”

Havering Council has forecast a �10m spend for home care in 2011/12, out of a �65m budget for adult social care.

A spokesman said: “The Government’s spending plans was mixed news for Havering, more funding has been promised for social care but we need to wait and see the detail before we can really judge the local impact.

“We have already planned for significant funding cuts over the next few years but we will focus our efforts on protecting services for our most vulnerable residents.

“We are under no illusion about the scale of the challenge we have to make but we will be a fair council and focus our services on people who can not help themselves.”

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