At least 130,000 trapped in social care debt

Posted by GMB Admin
Wednesday 12 June 2019
GMB Trade Union - At least 130,000 trapped in social care debt

One in three in social care arrears with more than 1,700 facing legal action over unpaid charges

At least 130,000 people are trapped in social care debt, a study by GMB Union has revealed.

The shocking figures, discussed at GMB’s Annual Congress in Brighton today [Wednesday June 12, 2019] amount to one in three of all people who pay for their social care.

More than 93,000 people are facing debt management proceedings as a result of their social care debt, with more than 1,700 facing legal action. [1]

GMB Union submitted Freedom of Information requests to every local authority in Great Britain with responsibility for social care.

Region/Country Invoices Arrears Debt mgmt Court
London 32251 23072 13096 131
East of England 32931 12000 7322 215
East Midlands 24185 6135 5492 165
South East 56370 19598 13844 110
South West 26310 5803 4886 51
West Midlands 27179 8065 7715 79
Wales 30498 3932 2316 57
North West 69918 26818 23465 382
North East 21308 4452 2288 44
Yorkshire and Humber 30946 4916 2372 28
Scotland 69616 15717 10213 481
Grand Total 421512 130508 93009 1743

The true figures are likely to be higher as some authorities didn't respond.

GMB, the union for care workers, has helped launch an All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Care (APPG Social Care) to look at the care system, funding and state of staffing in the sector.

The union also entered into an agreement with care provider HC-One last summer to launch Careforce, a dedicated campaign to look at professionalisation, skills and the prestige of the care sector.

Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer, said:

“Our care system isn’t just in crisis - it’s crumbling beneath our feet.

“Almost 100,000 people facing debt collectors over unpaid charges, almost 2,000 facing legal action - this is an increasingly desperate state of affairs

“Meanwhile care companies are going to the wall, councils are starved of cash and our under-staffed, underpaid and overworked members do their best against the rising tide of need.

“The way we fund our care system needs a radical overhaul - at the same time we need support, progression and pay structures to inspire new carers and retain outstanding staff.

“Instead of taking action, this Tory Government keeps kicking the Green Paper on social care into the long grass when they should be coming forward with a coherent plan to properly fund our care sector."

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