Supporting People saves nearly £3bn a year

The Supporting People programme is reaping nearly £2.8bn a year in savings for state services, reduced crime and costs to individuals, a government report revealed yesterday.

The study, based on 2004-5 figures, found that a £1.55bn investment in Supporting People, with associated housing, social care and benefit costs of £820m, yielded £2.77bn in net financial benefits.

Most of the savings came from reduced residential care packages. This was reflected in the fact that Supporting People funding on older people in sheltered accommodation yielded the biggest dividend – nearly £1.1bn.

Drug problems

However, when client numbers are considered, the biggest relative net savings were with people with drug problems (£26.1m for every 1,000 units of support) and those with learning disabilities (£20.5m per 1,000 units).

The results come with the government reducing funding for Supporting People year-on-year from £1.8bn in 2005-6 to £1.64bn in 2010-11.

Leslie Morphy, chief executive of homelessness charity Crisis, said: “In the light of this glowing report for Supporting People, Crisis is a little puzzled that the government is obstinately pushing ahead with cutting back on its funding. It’s like giving the star pupil a straight As report – and then expelling them.”

However, a spokesperson for the Department for Communities and Local Government said Supporting People funding was now more tailored to need than before, despite the declining overall level. He added: “It is worth noting that a previous report found that the spend in the previous funding round wasn’t good value. The distribution is better.”

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