At least 130,000 people are trapped in social care debt, a study by GMB Union has revealed.
The figure, released at the union’s annual congress in Brighton, amounts 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 debt, with more than 1,700 facing legal action.
The top three areas where people faced the most legal actions were Scotland with 481, the North West with 382 and the East of England with 215.
GMB submitted Freedom of Information requests to every local authority in Great Britain with responsibility for social care. It said the true figures were likely to be higher as some authorities did not respond.
‘Our care system isn’t just in crisis – it’s crumbling beneath our feet,’ said Rachel Harrison, GMB national officer. ‘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,’ she continued, ‘councils are starved of cash and our under-staffed, underpaid and overworked members do their best against the rising tide of need.’
Harrison added the way the care system is funded needed a ‘radical overhaul’.