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Social care spending increases by £556m for first time in seven years


26 October 2017

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Annual spending by local authorities on social care has risen by £556m in 2016/17 to £17.5bn, according to official figures.

This is the first time social care expenditure has risen in real terms since 2009/10.

The extra funding comes after local authorities were able to raise the council tax precept by 2% in order to fund adult social care, raising an additional £382m.

Annual spending by local authorities on social care has risen by £556m in 2016/17 to £17.5bn, according to official figures.

This is the first time social care expenditure has risen in real terms since 2009/10.

The extra funding comes after local authorities were able to raise the council tax precept by 2% in order to fund adult social care, raising an additional £382m.

However, according to the Adult Social Care Activity and Finance Report published by NHS Digital today shows that although expenditure has risen, there has been a minimal change in activity, suggesting an increase in the costs of providing care.

In 2016/17 councils received 1.8 million requests for support from new clients – a 0.2% increase on previous years.

Meanwhile, nine in 1,000 people aged between 18 and 64, and 58 in 1,000 people aged between 65 and above, received long-term support provided or arranged by their council in 2016/17.

Cllr Linda Thomas, vice chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: ‘These figures show that while councils are doing all they can to protect adult social care services, the increase in demand and cost for services is only adding to the huge pressure they are already under to support older and disabled people, keeping them at home living independently in the community, and out of hospital.

She added that social care faces an annual funding gap of £2.3 billion by 2020 and it is ‘vital that the Government sets out in the Autumn Budget how it will address the social care crisis’. 

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, added: 'No one can take any comfort from this. In real terms and in the real world this is a tiny increase to a budget that is woeful. 

'The reality is that thousands of vulnerable people are not receiving the support they need and the health service is every day being placed under intolerable pressure as a result.

'The government has promised to put this right and it is now time for them to get on with that.'

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