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Digest: 'social care cuts five times higher in poorer areas'

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Cuts to adult social care spending have been more than five times higher in the most deprived areas than in the wealthiest, research has found. 

Analysis by the Institute of Fical Studies has shown on average the 30 councils with the highest levels of deprivation made cuts of 17% per person between 2009-10 and 2017-18, while there was a 3% cut by the 30 councils in the least deprived areas.

This pattern is reflected in changes to overall council spending during the period, with the 30 councils in areas with the highest deprivation making average cuts of 32% compared to 17% in the least deprived areas.

The research also found social care spending fell by 10% in real terms between 2009-10 and 2014-15 but rose by 7% in the three years to 2017-18.

Despite the increased spending in recent years following extra government funding through the better care fund and flexibilites over council tax, overall allocated budgets were still 3% lower in 2017-18 than in 2009-10.

However, this was equivalent to a 9% decrease person when population growth is considered, according to the analysis.

IFS associate director David Phillips said: “It’s unlikely to be sustainable to continue cutting other services to find money for adult social care, especially with councils saying pressures are building in other areas like children’s services and housing.”

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