Adult social care spending down 9% per person

Adult social care spending has fallen by 9% per person over the past decade, with cuts varying around the country but tending to be larger in more deprived areas.

Spending by councils fell by 10% in real terms between 2009/10 and 2014/15 and despite increases in grant funding and council tax rises since 2014/15, the allocation of money was 3% lower in 2017/18 than in 2009/10, according to a briefing note by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Between 2009/10 and its 2014/15 low, adult social care spending per person fell by 13%. It then increased by 5% between 2014/15 and 2017/18. The cumulative impact of these changes means that spending was 9% lower per person in 2017/18 than 2009/10.

The report said: ‘Ring-fenced grant funding for social care has increased by £290m between 2017/18 and 2018/19 and councils have chosen to raise an additional £540m through further increases in the social care precept. Eight-hundred and thirty million pounds (the combined increase) is equivalent to 5% of what councils spent on adult social care in 2017/18. An increase in spending of that size would be enough to exceed overall 2009/10 spending, but spending per person would still be lower.’

On average, the thirty councils with the highest levels of deprivation made cuts to adult social care of 17% per person, compared to 3% per person in the thirty areas with the lowest levels of deprivation.

The most deprived authorities included Barking and Dagenham, Birmingham and Salford, while the least deprived areas included Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Dorset.

Responding to the report, councillor Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: ‘Fundamental changes to the way we fund adult social care are needed if we are to deliver a system that works for everyone in society. All funding options should be up for discussion.

‘Adult social care is facing a cliff-edge in funding which is putting at risk provision of care for a growing number of people of all ages with care needs.

‘The government must act urgently to put adult social care on a stable footing for the here and now, and address the long-term sustainability of care and support through its green paper. Only this way can we future-proof adult social care.’