Personal care budgets to be stepped up

Care services minister Paul Burstow admitted that personal budgets were not suitable for all people but said the government wanted to increase the take-up of them “significantly”.

Responding to a question from a delegate that some service users had ended up in hospital because they were not able to cope with a personal budget, Mr Burstow admitted they were not appropriate for everyone.

But he added: “Having said that, only 13% of people are receiving personal budgets at the moment and that is something we are concerned about. The pace needs to pick up significantly beyond that.

“Personal budgets should be a right. Not something that people just have to hope for,” he said.

He went on to say that he did not support raising thresholds for services. “It is a false economy and shunts costs, moving them around the system.”

Claims that there will be a £4bn shortfall in the social care budget over the next four years, as a result of the cuts, were described as “alarmist” by Mr Burstow. He said they were based on “poor maths” because public sector workers would face a pay freeze, which would save money, and councils would have the freedom to generate funds through council tax rises.