POLITICIANS are ignoring the grave threat posed by a crisis in social care funding, a leading North Yorkshire care group has warned.

The Independent Care Group – which represents care providers in York and North Yorkshire – says unless social care is better funded, thousands of people will miss out on support.

Chairman Mike Padgham said: “The clock is ticking, social care is in crisis and, as we approach May’s General Election, we are yet to hear in any manifestos any proposals for how the country is going to save it. Since 2010, £3.5 billion has been taken from the social care system due to cuts to local authority budgets, leaving vast numbers of people without the care they need in care homes or their own home.

“And all the time the Government is calling for standards of care to improve, while starving the sector of the money it needs to survive, let alone improve.”

The group has launched its own election “manifesto” with key points it says need to be overhauled in the way older and vulnerable adults are cared for.

It has called for a promise any increase in NHS funding is “locked in” to a corresponding increase for social care – with Mr Padgham warning that without it the NHS will be stymied by patients stuck in hospital because there is no support available at home.

Mr Padgham added: “As a nation we are surely judged by the way we care for our older and vulnerable people. At the moment that care shames us and we don’t seem to be doing anything about it.

“It is estimated some 500,000 people who would have received social care in 2009 no longer qualify because of funding cuts, and despite the ageing population.

“Politicians are quite rightly pledging to find an extra £8bn a year for the NHS but there have been no similar pledges to find the estimated extra £4.3bn a year that social care is expected to need by 2020. It is nonsense to boost funding to the NHS and not automatically do it for social care at the same time.”

He has urged people to challenge would-be MPs on their plans for social care, and called for a ring-fenced funding, a merger of health and social care, and a system that would stop people having to sell their home to pay for care.

Earlier this week, the former head of NHS England Sir David Nicholson warned of a financial black hole in the Conservative and Lib Dem plans for NHS funding.

Sir David said the “Stevens plan” both parties have signed up to, which involves injecting £8 billion into the NHS while gaining £22 billion from efficiency savings, will be difficult to implement.