A quarter of a million older people have lost their state-funded help with carrying out everyday activities such as bathing, dressing and eating in the past four years as council budgets have been slashed and services rationed, according to a report released on Wednesday.

The NHS and government are now “flying blind” in planning services for vulnerable older people because there is no way of assessing the true impact that social care cuts are having on their lives, the report’s authors warn.

The report by the Nuffield Trust and Health Foundation thinktanks says that four years of cuts to local authority funding have already forced councils to ration social care services tightly.