From an unusual source comes a tale of woe, this one via a press release from the Local Government Association.
It warns that the 400 councils in England and Wales are struggling to pay their bills and, by 2009/10, up to 370,000 older people currently receiving free low level care could have it withdrawn completely:
Demand for social care is rising by six per cent every year. In the next three years alone, there will be over 400,000 more older people, many of whom will require social care. Without additional funding, local government may potentially face a situation, by as early as 2009, where it cannot afford to provide support to the 370,000 people with lower levels of need.And one important reason why the "additional funding" is needed is that spending on collecting and disposing of waste will more than double between 2003/04 and 2012/13 to £4.2bn to meet the EU landfill directive targets. "Waste volumes," says the press release, "are rising by three percent each year, landfill tax is rising by 15 percent each year and soon local government will face penalties of over £200m if we exceed our landfill allowances. There will need to be increased spending on rubbish collection and disposal by 10 percent each year to meet the EU landfill directive."
It is highly unlikely that councils will get their additional funding so, in effect, they are going to have to stop looking after grannies in order to pay for the EU waste disposal rules. Hence, when it comes to grannies or garbage – it is not for us to decide. The EU has made the decision already.