Councils warn of £2bn rise in costs of caring for adults with learning disabilities

Councils have warned the costs of caring for adults with learning disabilities could rise by almost £2bn by 2025.

Analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP ahead of the County Councils Network’s (CCN) annual conference, which starts today, reveals annual extra costs rising from £4.8bn in 2015 to £6.7bn in 2025 for the 152 councils with care responsibilities.

CNN chairman Cllr Paul Carter said: “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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“As part of a funding and integration package with the NHS, I believe that this should mean at least 20% of the NHS’ £20bn ‘birthday present’ should be invested directly by councils in community-based care to meet growing demand in areas such as learning disabilities.”

The figures released by the CCN show a large variation in costs across the country. County local authorities will bear the brunt of these additional costs; with costs rising by £918m in the 36 county authorities by 2025, which is half of all additional costs. This compares to £313m in London and £350m in other urban metropolitan areas and cities.

Providing care for adults with severe learning disabilities is a legal requirement with their costs largely falling onto the local authority, unlike ‘self-funders’ in other social care services who have a certain amount of assets and personal wealth.

Around 1.5m people in the UK have a learning disability, and of this number 350,000 people have a severe learning disability.

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