Almost 60p in every £1 of council taxes will be spent on social care by 2020, according to new analysis.
The Local Government Association (LGA) forecasts council tax spending on social care will rise from 41p in the pound in 2010/11 to 56p in the pound by 2019/20.
Cllr Claire Kober, Chair of the LGA’s Resources Board, said: “Demand for services caring for adults and children continues to rise but core funding from central government to councils continues to go down. This means councils have no choice but to squeeze budgets from other services, such as roads, street lighting and bus services to cope.
“Within two years, more than half of the council tax everyone pays may have to be spent on adult social care and children’s services. Councils will be asking people to pay similar levels of council tax while at the same time, warning communities that the quality and quantity of services they enjoy could drop.”
As part of its Autumn Budget submission, the LGA said local government must first and foremost be allowed to keep all of the business rates it collects locally each year to plug growing funding gaps. A fairer system of distributing funding between councils was also needed, the LGA said.
The LGA added councils were clear that keeping more business rates income on its own would not be enough to sustainably fund local services in the long term. It said the Government needed to set out how it intends to further fund councils to meet future inflation and demand for services, such as social care and homelessness, into the next decade and beyond.
Cllr Kober added: “An extra £1.3bn is also needed right now just to stabilise the perilously fragile care provider market.
“The Government must recognise that councils cannot continue without sufficient and sustainable resources. Local government must be able to keep every penny of taxation raised locally to plug funding gaps and pay for the vital local services our communities rely on.
“With the right funding and powers, local government can play a vital role in supporting central government to deliver its ambitions for everyone in our country.”