The National Association of Care Catering](https://thenacc.org.uk/) (NACC) is calling on local authorities to invest in good nutrition for older people, following the Government's commitment to a £2b increase for social care budgets.
However, there have been warnings from charities and industry experts that the extra cash, which has not been ring-fenced, will be swallowed up by cash-strapped councils.
Campaigners say that the Government's extra money, which amounts to an increase of 3.3% a year, is not enough and that spending needs to rise at 4% above inflation just to keep pace with demand of the ageing population and growing numbers of people with learning difficulties.
Jane Ashcroft of the charity Anchor told The Guardian that councils in England currently get £14.4b for social care, which represents the largest slice of their budgets. "We are looking at filling a gap of billions of pounds. When you look at the real-term rise it's just not enough money," she said.
The push from the NACC follows a report it launched earlier this month that identified one in 10 older people in the UK at risk from malnutrition, a figure which looks set to increase as a result of the ageing population.
Derek Johnson, chair of the NACC, welcomed the Government's investment in social care, but said it still needs to back a standard approach to nutrition which is firmly embedded as part of a care package.
"The Government also needs to recognise and adopt a single Nutrition Standard. Adopting these two initiatives will ensure local authorities are investing in the right services for older people," he added.
Investing in good nutritional care will help save money in the long term as malnutrition among older people can lead to increased hospital stay, increased readmission rates and increased transfer and admission to care homes, all at a cost to the Government, according to the NACC.
By Janie Stamford
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