Councils need billions more for adult care

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has reported that Councils need ‘billions of pounds in additional funding to meet the rising costs of adult social care’, and this is just to maintain services at current levels. 

A growing elderly population, increases in the number of disabled adults, and increases in wage and other costs has resulted in this situation.

New analysis from the Institute shows that, ‘with councils now largely dependent on council tax and business rates to fund their spending, a growing gap is likely to open up between their income and what they need to meet the rising costs of service provision, especially for adult social care.’

The Guardian, builds on this research to quote Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s director.  She said: “The problems facing social care are national, but for too long successive governments have left local councils to carry the can. That’s been grossly unfair to local communities and above all to older and disabled people, more than 1.5 million of whom now have some unmet need for care.

“This is such a big problem now that to have credibility at this election every political party that aspires to govern needs to bring forward a policy to fix care, once and for all.”

Rural areas have a higher proportion of residents in older age groups and growth in numbers aged 85 or over is expected to happen fastest in rural areas.  By 2039, nearly half of all households in rural areas will contain people aged 65 or over.  Rural and urban areas receive similar funding (per resident) under the NHS allocations to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).  This does not reflect the older rural demographic which places extra demand on the NHS services due to chronic illness, disability and mortality.

In addition, those in rural areas generally pay more in council tax than in urban areas after years of underfunding of council services mean that council tax has been increased to pay for services.  Rural residents face an additional cost burden for the adult social care provision in their areas.  In 2017-18 they funded 76% of the cost of its provision through their Council tax, the urban comparator was 53%.

The Rural Services Network is calling on the Government to produce a Rural Strategy so that there is a comprehensive plan to support those living in the countryside.  

The RSN believes that the following initiatives should be included in a Rural Strategy for a fair deal on health and social care:

  • A fair allocation of funding to rural areas
  • A rural proofed model for health care delivery
  • A stronger focus on filling vacancies
  • A joined up approach to health and social care
  • A housing policy ready for an aging population

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