Local authorities spend £21.2 billion on adult social care

Local authorities spend £21.2 billion on adult social care

Statistics published by by NHS Digital show local authorities spent £21.2 billion on adult social care in 2020-1.

The Adult Social Care Activity and Finance Report report contains aggregate information submitted by 151 Councils with Adult Social Services Responsibilities (CASSRs) in England, to provide insight into adult social care activity and expenditure for the period 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.

During that period, gross current expenditure on adult social care by local authorities was £21.2 billion. Almost three quarters (73.6% or £15.6 billion) of total gross current expenditure is spent on long term support, and this is the first year more money has been spent on clients aged 18-64 receiving long term support, rather than those aged 65 and over, since the collection began in 2014-15.

However, the report states that some of the spending in 2020-21 does not directly relate to people whose care is supported by the local authority and so overall totals are not directly comparable with previous years. The rise in spending also reflects an increase in government funding in 2020-21 specifically to support the adult social care sector during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This is the seventh year of the SALT and ASC-FR collections, and the fifth year in which the adult social care activity and finance data have been brought together in an official statistics report.

Responding to the latest adult social care finance and activity report Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:

“Throughout the pandemic, councils have committed to ensuring all those in need of high quality care and support can receive it despite rising demand and cost pressure. It is testament to the skill and dedication of our care workforce during this most incredibly challenging period.

“This is the first year since these records began that more money has been spent by councils on people aged 18-64 receiving long term support, rather than those aged 65 and over, illustrating how social care provides for people of all ages, whatever their condition.

“Extra short-term funding for adult social care during COVID-19 has affected these figures, but social care was already under severe pressure prior to the outbreak.

“The Spending Review and forthcoming white paper must set out how immediate and short-term pressures in social care will be addressed, if we are to build back better and develop a care and support system fit for the future.”

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