English councils have warned they will resort to providing the “bare minimum” if no extra funding is made available to meet rising demand for services such as social care.
Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP analysis for the County Councils Network (CCN) warns that councils face a £50bn black hole over the next six years due to rising demand for services and increasing costs.
Cllr Paul Carter, chairman of the County Councils Network, said: “Over the last decade councils have played a crucial part in reducing the deficit, but the yearly compounding effect of funding cuts and rising demand means that the situation is fast becoming untenable. This research demonstrates the need for government to provide all councils with additional resources at the Spending Review, with the most significant financial challenges being experienced by county and metropolitan authorities most in need.”
The analysis reveals that raising council taxes and increasing efficiency will not be enough to fill the funding gap.
The report forecasts that adult social care spending will rise by £6.1bn nationally by 2025 compared with a decade before.
By 2025, counties will account for 47% of all local government spending on adult social care and will need to spend an additional £2.9bn annually compared to 2015/26 on these services due to rising demand and costs.
Four fifths (78%) of the 36 county authorities’ spending will relate to adult social care, children’s services, public health and education services by 2025.
Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins told the BBC: “We really need a proper adult, cross-party debate on the future funding of adult social care.
“We need to know how we are going to fund this in the future.
“It can’t fall just on the council tax and the business-rate payer.”
A government spokesperson said: “Local authorities will have access to £46.4bn this year, a real-terms increase that will strengthen services, support local communities and help councils meet the needs of their residents.”
The spokesperson said the government will be looking at funding for services as part of its spending review.