MORE than three-quarters of councillors whose local authority has made cuts to preventative and low-level social care admit they are worried about the impact on the elderly and vulnerable, a leading charity has warned.
The British Red Cross said the move was a false economy and could cost taxpayers millions of pounds.
Nearly two-thirds of councillors questioned said their local authority had cut or frozen funding for preventative and lower-level social care since the last local election.
Where cuts – which on average were 16% – had taken place, 76% of councillors felt this had left elderly and vulnerable residents in their area at greater risk, with the same percentage saying this gave them cause for concern.
More than two-thirds (69%) of councillors who have experienced cuts said that people in need will not receive the care they need.
Only 10% of councillors thought that the elderly and vulnerable people who need preventative or lower-level social care in their council area will be better off next year while nearly half (48%) think that they will be worse off.
The findings echo a new report for the Red Cross produced by Deloitte, which found that preventative support services such as home from hospital schemes and care in the home save taxpayers millions of pounds in reduced health costs, as well as providing vital support to people in their own communities.
Deloitte estimated that across England and Wales the British Red Cross’s services alone had the potential to save the NHS and social care up to £8 million.
The charity has 30 years of experience running health and social care services, and reaches 400,000 people each year.
British Red Cross chief executive Sir Nick Young said: “The right support at the right time can transform people’s lives by giving them the independence to enjoy life in their own home.
“Investing in preventative care also means millions of pounds will eventually be saved as fewer people need intensive and expensive support.
“Cutting vital services is not only bad for elderly and vulnerable people, but bad economics.”
ComRes interviewed 435 local councillors in England online between October 23 and November 14.