Adult care funding 'to swallow council budgets'
Local authority adult social care funding will squeeze out nearly all other council spending unless the Government intervenes, a new report has claimed.
Public libraries, leisure centres and other cherished community facilities may be reduced with funding for these services being cut by as much as 90% as adult social care and other statutory responsibilities take precedence, the Local Government Association (LGA) predicts.
In eight years' time, the LGA believes there will be a £16.5 billion funding shortfall between the amount of money available to councils to provide services and the predicted cost of maintaining them at current levels.
This has prompted the LGA to urge the Government to change the way adult social care is paid for and provide councils with access to more resources.
LGA chairman Sir Merrick Cockell said: "By the end of the decade councils may be forced to wind down some of the most popular services they provide unless urgent action is taken to address the crisis in adult social care funding.
"Efficiency savings won't go close to solving this problem. We need an immediate injection of money into the adult care system to meet rising demand in the short term, alongside a major revision of the way it is paid for and delivered in future."
Local government minister Bob Neill said: "Councils must continue to make savings by sharing back offices, getting more for less from the £60 billion-a-year procurement budget, utilising their £10 billion of reserves, tackling the £2 billion of local fraud, or reducing in-house management and overhead costs."
The Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (Solace) said in a statement: "Even the LGA's conservative estimates make difficult reading. In some places the funding gap will become critical far more quickly. Different areas of the country will be affected in different ways. There is a diversity of crisis, but crisis it is.
"Solace supports the LGA's call on the Government to ensure this long-term funding puzzle is resolved quickly and fairly. Reform in social care is long overdue and greater integration through community budgets should be brought forward."