More than 166,000 people are trapped in social care debt with over 1,100 having been taken to court by local authorities over the past two years, according to GMB analysis.
Almost half of the 166,000 people (78,000) in arrears on their social care payments have had debt management procedures initiated against them by their authority for non-payment of social care charges, the GMB said.
Sharon Wilde, GMB National Officer, said: “These stark figures show the UK’s social care ticking time bomb has now blown a gaping hole in families’ finances.
“The fact more than 1,000 people have been taken to court because they’re unable to pay for their own care – or that of their loved ones – shows the system just isn’t working.
“Meanwhile, our ageing population is creating a huge demand for care staff – but caring is still not seen as a sought after career.
“The lack of local authority funding often means low pay – and the sector is struggling to recruit and retain the dedicated staff needed to provide the best care to the UK’s most vulnerable people.
“We need a clear, coherent strategy for funding social care now and in the future.
“Otherwise the struggle to recruit and retain carers will become even more acute, while tens of thousands of people are plunged into debt trying to pay for the level of support that they need.”