Social care spending dropped 8% under coalition

Official figures show falling investment in social care despite NHS funding transfers

Spending on adult social care dropped 8% in real-terms under the coalition government, official figures reveal.

A total of £17.2bn was spent on adult social care on 2014-15,  the health and social care information centre data shows. This marks a reduction of 1 per cent in real terms from the previous year and an 8 per cent drop from 2009-10, the year before the coalition entered government.

The figures include local authority spending and the income councils received from people that self-fund their social care. They also include funding transfers from the NHS to boost social care budgets. The amount of health service cash transferred to social care rose from £620m in 2011-12 to £1.1bn in 2014-15.

The figures mark the latest evidence of the financial pressure on adult social care that has prompted directors to warn that the system is unsustainable and left providers fearing that some services could collapse.

Research by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) found that a £4.6bn social care funding gap opened up between 2010 and 2015. ADASS’s estimate is based on:

  • A £1.6bn reduction in local authority social care budgets;
  • The need for councils to save an additional £1.75bn to ensure services can meet demographic pressures and;
  • An extra £1.25bn in costs incurred through price inflation.

Local authority leaders have appealed to the Conservative government to address the funding shortfall. The government will set out its spending priorities in the Autumn spending review.

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