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Extra disability funding essential for 'long-term survival of councils'

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The long-term survival of local government is being put at risk by inadequate funding for adult social care, new analysis has found.

The County Councils Network has published new data ahead of its annual conference, showing a forecast increase in the number of adults with severe learning disabilities who will require care.

The analysis, conducted by PwC, shows that costs for the 152 councils with care responsibilities are expected to rise by 38.5% in the coming decade; increasing from £4.8bn in 2015-16 to £6.7bn in 2025-26.

There are around 1.5 million people in the UK who currently have a learning disability, of whom 350,000 have a severe learning disability, according to the NHS.

CCN chair Paul Carter (Con) is expected to tell delegates at conference today that the funding produced in this month’s Budget has provided a short-term “lifeline” for local authorities, before calling on the government to “ensure the long-term survival of councils” with sustainable, long-term funding in next year’s spending review.

Cllr Carter is expected to say: “Individuals with severe learning disabilities are thankfully living longer and have a much-improved quality life, due to great advances in medical science. However, they understandably have little if any personal wealth or assets, and therefore escalating costs fall directly on our councils.”

Cllr Carter, also leader of Kent CC, will then call for “at least 20% of the NHS’ £20bn ‘birthday present’” to be invested in community-based care “to meet growing demand in areas such as learning disabilities”.

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock last week signalled that the proportion of funding spent on primary and community care should increase under the NHS’ long-term plan.

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