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One in 10 councils cut social care by a quarter since 2009


6 April 2017

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Some 10% of councils cut their adult social services budget by a quarter over the six years between 2009/10 and 2015/16, according to a report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

The report found that, while six out of seven councils made some cut to their social care budget, total spending by councils per adult fell by 11% in real terms over that time.

Cuts were found to be most severe in the north of England and in areas that had higher spending on social care initially and was more dependent on grants from central Government.

Some 10% of councils cut their adult social services budget by a quarter over the six years between 2009/10 and 2015/16, according to a report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

The report found that, while six out of seven councils made some cut to their social care budget, total spending by councils per adult fell by 11% in real terms over that time.

Cuts were found to be most severe in the north of England and in areas that had higher spending on social care initially and was more dependent on grants from central Government.

The report also notes a significant variation in councils’ social care spending across the country.

In a tenth of council areas in 2015/16, spending was less than £325 per adult resident, while it was £445 per adult in another 10% of councils – a spending difference of more than a third.

David Phillips, an associate director at the IFS and another author of the report said the differences in spending per adult suggests the Government ‘has got its work cut out in its ‘Fair Funding Review’.

The Fair Funding Review will measure different councils’ spending needs from 2019 onwards.

Mr Phillips said the debate surrounding the review ‘could get quite fraught’.

Anita Charlesworth, director of research and economics at the Health Foundation, said: ‘The government has provided a short-term injection of cash which is welcome, but won't be enough to keep pace with the inevitable pressures that arise from an ageing population.

‘The promised Green Paper on the future of social care will have to wrestle with some incredibly tough choices – not least how much better off older people should contribute and whether it is reasonable to use housing assets to fund care.’

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