Care services dominate spending

Children’s and adult social care services could fail to support everyone they need to, despite making up nearly two-thirds of councils’ total spending, because of rising demand, increasing costs and inadequate funding. 

New LGA analysis, released to mark last month’s National Children and Adult Services Conference (NCASC), shows that social care-providing authorities are now spending more than 60 per cent of their outgoings on these essential services.

The LGA says serious questions remain about whether the £5.4 billion from the new Health and Care Levy over the next three years will be enough to pay for recently announced adult social care reforms, including the need for immediate action on care worker pay and on staff recruitment and retention.

Spiralling demand on children’s social services and future cost pressures in children’s social care are also set to increase by an estimated £600 million each year until 2024/25, with many councils finding themselves having to overspend their children’s services budgets. 

Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Steadily growing demand has seen councils devoting nearly two-thirds of their total spending to both children’s and adult social care, which is simply unsustainable.

“There is a very real risk that local residents will feel they are paying twice with an increased social care precept on their council tax bills, on top of the new health and care levy, yet see their experience of social care services deteriorate because of dwindling resources.

“The Government’s imminent white paper on adult social care should set out precisely how money raised from the levy will address all of its reforms, while also diverting more money to the frontline to urgently meet immediate pressures, including on care worker pay and staffing.”

Author

The LGA has outlined four priorities for the white paper, including setting out full costings for all reforms and how they will be funded – see local.gov.uk/four-priorities-adult-social-care-white-paper

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