Prepare For Victims Of Slump, Social Services Staff Told

Adult social services staff have been warned to brace themselves for a substantial increase in the numbers being referred to them for help, as the credit crunch starts to take its toll on family life.

President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), John Dixon, warned the poorest and most vulnerable would be hit ‘worst and hardest’ by a recession.

Among the circumstances having a negative impact on family life, Mr Dixon cited the 48% increase in mortgage repossessions, falling house prices, fuel poverty and unemployment.

He said: ‘Extreme economic depressions have always led to serious social tensions within families and communities – and the current situation will be no exception.’

Mr Dixon called on directors of adult social services to implement initiatives which will help people with their finances.

He said: ‘Directors will be discussing with colleagues how local authorities can support people, by providing advice on debt management, benefits entitlements and ways of helping reduce fuel and heating costs.’

According to co-chair of the ASADD housing network, Bob Hodson, the problem was here to stay. He warned that councils should prepare to help struggling families for ‘several years to come.’

Mr Hodson added that opinion remained ‘divided’ on how effective government proposals would be, such as supporting would-be buyers and increasing the entitlement to benefit from 13 to 39 weeks, in easing pressures on families, and that councils would ‘be expected to take an active role’ in picking up the pieces.