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Increase in spending on care ‘a drop in the ocean’

Much of the extra spending is just to keep up with rising prices

An increase in councils’ spending on social care is a mere drop in the ocean, experts have warned.

Government figures reveal council spending on adult social care rose 5% to £16.1bn in 2018/19.

However, councils have made £7bn of cuts to adult care since 2010 and need to cut £700m more in 2019/20, according to the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.

The Local Government Association has said there will be a £1bn funding gap next year.

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said councils are cutting hundreds of millions of pounds from their care budgets.

“Care cost inflation is outpacing inflation – partly because of wage increases – so much of the extra spending is needed just to keep up with rising prices,” she explained. “Then when you factor in cuts in public health spending, a 45% fall in the number of district nurses since 2010 and the boom in the population aged 65 and over, you can see the incredible pressure on social care. Councils have made billions of pounds worth of cuts at a time when more people need more care than ever.”

Coles said older people and their families have to step into the breach, which often leads to families struggling on and providing informal care themselves.

“This can take an enormous toll on their personal and mental wellbeing, and can mean having to give up work or work shorter hours – which comes with its own problems,” she warned.