Social Care Spending Up £556m as Costs Also Rise

Annual spending by local authorities on social care rose by £556 million in 2016/17 to £17.5 billion, new figures show.

That constitutes a 3.3 per cent increase in cash terms and a 1.0 per cent increase in real terms. It is the first time social care expenditure has risen in real terms since 2009/10.

In 2016/17 Local Authorities were able to raise the council tax precept by two percent for the first time in order to fund adult social care. This raised an additional £382 million.

The Adult Social Care Activity and Finance Report published by NHS Digital today shows that, while expenditure has risen, there has been minimal change in activity, which may be linked to the increasing costs in the provision of care.

1.8 million requests for support from new clients were received by councils in 2016/17, an increase of 0.2 per cent on the previous year.

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

The number of service users receiving long term care over the year decreased slightly year-on-year by 4,000 to 868,000.

The total number of completed episodes of short term care to maximise independence was 242,000, a decrease of 2.1 per cent from 2015/16’s total of 247,000.

Some councils provided comments regarding the change in expenditure for their councils, citing factors including the introduction of the National Living Wage on 1st April 2016 and an increase of support for complex needs.

The average costs of care per week for residential and nursing care have risen in 2016/17:

  • The cost of residential care for a person aged 65 and over was £565 a week in 2016/17, rising from £549 in 2015/16.
  • The cost of nursing care for the same age band increased to £606 a week from £563.
  • For those aged 18 to 64 the numbers receiving residential or nursing care in the year are much smaller than the 65 and over age group, but a similar year-on-year effect can be seen with costs for nursing care rising to £911 in 2016/17 from £871 the previous year, and residential care increasing to £1,236 from £1,205.

There is a large amount of variation in year-on-year spending among councils. Ten councils reported cash terms increases of over ten per cent, four of which reported increases of over 20 per cent. In comparison, 42 out of 151 councils reported a decrease in expenditure compared with 2015/16.

Also being published today by NHS Digital is Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework (ASCOF). Findings of this report include:

  • The proportion of adults with a learning disability in paid employment has fallen each year over the last three years, from 6.0 per cent in 2014/15 to 5.8 per cent in 2015/16 and then 5.7 per cent in 2016/17.
  • The proportion of adults with learning disabilities in paid employment varies across English regions. London (7.2 per cent) and Eastern (7.1 per cent) have the highest proportion; North West, East Midlands and West Midlands have the lowest at 4.2 per cent.

 

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