Tens of thousands of older and disabled people are being denied basic support such as help with washing and dressing as a result of almost a decade of budget cuts and now the government’s failure to get to grips with the escalating financial crisis in social care.

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass) reveals this and many other grim facts in its annual survey, which notes that nearly a fifth of councils now admit the quality of life for people using care has got worse.

Adass says social care in England is adrift in a “sea of inertia” caused by years of budget cuts and Brexit-related Whitehall policy paralysis – now compounded by the Tory leadership contest: the promised Green Paper has been repeatedly postponed and seems unlikely to appear until after the next election.

While both claim to be committed to solving the crisis in social care, neither of the two candidates to be the next prime minister has promised any new money.

Age UK has previously warned that tightening eligibility criteria for council-funded social care have left 627,000 people – nearly 900 a day – have been refused social care since March 2017. Estimates suggest 1.4 million older people now have unmet care needs, an increase of 20% in two years.

Councils spend on average 38p of every pound they spend overall on adult social care – up from 34p in the pound in 2010, but  more than a third of them overspent their adult social care budget last year, many covering the extra cost by cutting other council services.

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