Social care spending rises by £556m – but costs up too

Annual spending by local authorities on social care rose by £556 million in 2016/17 to £17.5 billion – a 3.3 % increase in cash terms and a 1.0 per cent increase in real terms.

The Adult Social Care Activity and Finance Report published by NHS Digital 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.

The average costs of care per week for residential and nursing care have risen:

  • The cost of residential care for a person aged 65 and over was £565 a week – up from £549 in 2015/16.
  • The cost of nursing care for the same age band increased to £606 a week from £563.

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 %. In comparison, 42 out of 151 councils reported a decrease in expenditure compared with 2015/16.

It is the first time social care expenditure has risen in real terms since 2009/10.

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