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Costs of caring for adults with learning disabilities to rise by £2bn for councils by 2025

A surge in the number of adults with severe disabilities and an increase in the cost of care could see council’s expenses increase by £2bn by 2025, putting their long-term survival at risk.

Analysis by the County Councils Network (CCN) shows that the annual cost of caring for adults with learning disabilities is predicted to rise from £4.8bn in 2015 to £6.7bn for all 152 councils with care responsibilities.

England’s largest councils have warned that unless these “enormous” costs are recognised by the government, their “long-term survival” is at risk – particularly county councils, who will take on around half of these costs.

The analysis shows that the number of adults requiring care is projected to rise by over 7,600 by 2025, which will lead to a 38% increase in ‘spending need’ taking into account the higher projected demand and higher costs of delivering services.

The CCN’s figures also reveal a large variation in costs across the country, with county councils bearing the brunt of these additional costs.

By 2025, 36 county authorities will see their costs rise by £918m collectively, compared to £313m in London and £350m in other metropolitan areas and cities.

Providing care for adults with severe learning disabilities is a legal requirement, with the costs falling largely onto local authorities. County leaders say they are concerned that with the focus on adult social care, the mounting pressures in learning disabilities will fall under the radar.

Currently, learning disabilities within adult social care accounts for 10.5% of all local government expenditure in England.

Speaking at the CCN’s annual conference, chairman Paul Carter said that the funding announced in last month’s Budget has provided a short “lifeline” for local authorities.

But he called for the government to consider investing one-fifth of the NHS’s “birthday windfall” into social care and community care to address these demand-led financial pressures.

Carter, also the leader of Kent County Council, said: “Individuals with severe learning disabilities are thankfully living longer and have a much-improved quality life, due to great advances in medical science.

“However, they understandably have little if any personal wealth or assets, and therefore escalating costs fall directly on our councils.

“The government’s recent announcements have provided us with a lifeline for next year, but to ensure the long-term survival of councils these enormous extra costs must be recognised and the situation rectified in the Spending Review.”

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Image credit - SolStock


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