Councils in England are continuing to face greater pressures in learning disabilities than in other service areas, figures out today show.
Data from the NHS Information Centre reveal that spending on adult social care rose from £16.1bn to £16.7bn from 2008-9 to 2009-10, a rise of 2% in real terms.
But spending on people with learning disabilities rose by 3% in real terms to £4bn last year, outstripping the rate of increase for other client groups. Older people’s services saw a 1% real-terms increase in funding in 2009-10, to £9.3bn.
This continues a trend of learning disability spending increasing at a faster rate than overall adult care expenditure. From 2008-9 to 2009-10, learning disability expenditure rose by 8% in real terms, compared with a 3% overall rise. From 2007-8 to 2008-9 it rose by 1.8% in real terms, when overall spending fell by 0.5%.
The trend reflects the impact of people with learning disabilities living longer, and points to the challenges that councils will face in mantaining learning disability services on the back of government cuts over the next four years.
In a separate report, the information centre said there was a slight rise from 2008-9 to 2009-10 in council funding on grants to voluntary and independent sector bodies to help people live more independently in their own homes.
Expenditure rose by £329m to £332m, but there was a slight fall in the number of people supported through grants, from 336,900 in 2008-9 to 336,400 in 2009-10.
This funding helps people who do not qualify for support under Fair Access to Care Services criteria. Eight per cent of recipients of grant-funded services were also receiving a formal package of care, the research found, though only a quarter of councils provided data on this question and the information was not of reliable quality in certain cases.
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