1. ITV Report

Counting the cost of adult social care as councils set spending budgets

How to fund adult social care is a question on the lips of all councils as they finalise their budgets for the next financial year.

Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Kate Prout.

The Local Government Association says nationally adult social care is facing a £2.3 billion funding gap by 2020.

Norfolk County Council is raising its share of Council Tax by 5.99 % – 2.99 % for general services and 3 per cent for adult social care, the maximum permitted by the Government. Credit: ITV News Anglia

“Thousands of older and disabled people deserve to be given a decent choice of care homes providing quality care, but the sad reality is that the underfunding of adult social care is threatening the quality of care on offer and its availability. This means that an increasing number of providers are either pulling out of public contracts or going out of business."

– Cllr LInda Thomas, Vice Chair of the Local Government Association's Community Wellbeing Board

Woodspring House care home in Fakenham, Norfolk specialises in dementia care and the 28 residents here either pay for their own care or are supported by Norfolk County Council.

"Demand is high. We get regular calls from the County Council asking for spaces. I think the big push is to keep people at home rather than send them to residential care as it's perceived as expensive. And obviously there are negative perceptions about residential care although obviously I'm biased and think it has a very valid place in the care mix."

– Tim Armitage, Owner Woodspring House

This week Norfolk County Council met to discuss its budget for the next financial year and like many other local authorities, decided to put up council tax by 6%, half of that rise is for adult social care.

This year's budget sees an extra £40 million being put aside for caring for the older generation.

  • Norfolk County Council spends £1 million per day on adult social care.

Norfolk is not alone, Hertfordshire County Council has put in a 10 year accommodation strategy until 2027.

The County Council predicts that by 2025 if they carry on providing services as they do now, they will need an extra 3,900 nursing, residential and flexicare housing places.

But they want to commission services to provide care for people to allow them to stay in their own home and live as independently as possible and are looking at the way they provide care.

By 2025 they say there will be 237,600 over 65s in the county, in 2017 there were 201,300.

Essex County Council is also looking at huge growth in its older population.

Of Essex County Council's spending was on adult social care in 2017/18
  • 61% growth in over 85 population by 2030 in Essex
  • Central Beds Council predicts the number of people over 65 will rise by 47% by 2030.

"I don't think as a civilised society we can justify continuing with this inertia from the Government, they need to act, they need to be prepared to work with other people, but we need a new settlement, but part of that will inevitably mean all of us spending a bit more through our taxes to make sure our loved ones get the care when they need it."

– Norman Lamb MP, North Norfolk, Lib Dem