Lorraine Bellamy MencapThe majority of people are not confident that they will receive sufficient care and believe the government should increase the funding given to social care, a survey has found.

The survey of 4,500 people in England, commissioned by the Care & Support Alliance (CSA), a consortium of 75 charities, found that 6 in 10 people are not confident they will receive sufficient care; that goes up to 7 in 10 for over 60s.

Also, along with health services, support for elderly and disabled people is the biggest priority for increased expenditure, the poll revealed.

It also found that 1 in 3 people in England rely on, or have a close family member that relies on, the care system. With this in mind, the CSA is campaigning for a properly funded care system.

The CSA argues that the social care system is on its knees, with demand going up at the same time as chronic under-funding, leading to a tightening of eligibility, which has seen fewer and fewer people getting support.

Indeed, councils have reported that £3.5 billion has come out of the care system in the past 4 years, according to the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services’ annual budget survey, published in July.

Meanwhile, research by the LSE has found that 500,000 people who would have got care in 2009 are no longer entitled to it.

Care an election issue

Richard Hawkes, chair of the CSA, said: “Care is well and truly an election issue.

“The message from the public is loud and unambiguous. It’s a real vote of no confidence. They are worried about who will care for them or their loved ones, if they can no longer do basic things for themselves. Above all they want the Government to invest more money in the system.

“Every day, our 75 organisations hear horror stories of older and disabled people who struggle to get the support they need to simply get up, get dressed and get out of the house. This is also putting unbearable pressure on family carers.

“Chronic underfunding has led to a dramatic rationing of care. We need a long-term funding commitment for social care by the Government.

“The new Care Act, and the Better Care Fund, are bold and ambitious bids to address the crisis, and move us closer to a preventive, more integrated, system that keeps people out of crisis and living independently.

“But unless care is properly funded it will be the next Government’s first crisis.”

Important issue

Mencap spokeswoman Lorraine Bellamy (pictured), who has a learning disability, said: “I am delighted to hear that the public want to see more money spent on social care. For myself, and many other vulnerable people, social care means we are able to go out and be part of our communities. Without help with things such as managing money, washing or medication many vulnerable people would be stuck indoors and isolated. I am lucky enough to have a full-time job, but this is possible because I receive the support I need. Without the support of social care I fear of going back into my shell and being isolated.

“I am glad the government can now see how the general public thinks social care is one of the most important issues for the entire country. I hope they listen to this message and do not ignore the country’s wishes for more funding in the care system.”