Adult social care costs in North Somerset rise by millions

Adult social care costs in North Somerset will rise by millions.

Adult social care costs in North Somerset will rise by millions. - Credit: NSC

Increasing pressures on adult social care are pushing up costs by millions of pounds – which is not being covered by Government funding.

North Somerset Council will use some of the money from a rise in council tax in April to help bridge the gap to protect these vital services.

Around £1.2million of the £3.6m raised from the three per cent increase will be used to meet higher costs in services of £8.7m and an extra £2.5m is being provided through increases in government grants. The £5m deficit will come from the wider council budget setting process.

Adult social care is seeing these rising costs as people need more complex support, for longer and the costs of providing care are rising, mainly due to the increase in the National Living Wage. This is in addition to the number of older people growing every year.

The deep-rooted issue is being seen across the country and has become even more difficult as the Covid pandemic has left many with long-term health problems, either as a result of catching the virus or worsening conditions due to the effects of the last two years.

There are also more and more younger adults needing complex care and support, and the amount of money spent on adults under the age of 65 now accounts for more than half of the total spend on supporting adults.

The council’s executive member for adult social care, Cllr Mike Bell, said: “The growing gap between what adult social care needs to do, to meet its legal duty to protect the most vulnerable members of our community, and the money we have to do it is a huge issue not only for us, but for our country.

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“It’s not something that’s only a problem in North Somerset, nor is it one that has been solved by recent government announcements. We’ve been told that funding reforms are happening, but none of the money raised is going to help us meet the needs we have right now. In fact, most of the money is going to the NHS instead of local authorities.

“Which leaves us having to find millions again this year just to keep the service standing still, doing what it is already. This is huge ask to a council that has taken so much out of all its services over the last decade.

“This chronic underfunding of adult social care has to be addressed nationally. What’s been announced this year doesn’t solve the problem, and we’re still left with soaring costs and nowhere near enough money from government to even cover inflation. That money has to be found and it’s left up to our council to make some very tough decisions about where the money we do get needs to be spent.”

North Somerset Council’s adult social care, which accounts for the biggest portion of the council’s budget, provides services for those most in need to live as independently as possible, safely. Most of this care is given in their own homes, but some is in more specialist facilities, such as care homes.

Any adult may need to use these services at any age, either for a short time, for example after an accident if they have no family or friends to help them recover, or indefinitely if their health is unlikely to improve.

The council’s 2022-23 budget aims to protect council services while also investing in local projects to improve services for children, green initiatives and local facilities, driving forwarded the council’s commitment to be open, fairer and greener.