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