Autumn 2015 spending review

25 November 2015

In the Autumn 2015 spending review, the Chancellor forecast that the central grant from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) would fall by 56% between 2015/16–2020/21, but this would be offset by other changes, so that overall funding to local authorities would fall by 6.7%.

There were several key announcements relating to adult social care on: the Better Care Fund (BCF), long term funding reform, and a new adult social care precept.

Better Care Fund

In the spending review, the government also set out plans to increase the amount of money available to local authorities, via the BCF for integrated health and social care services, to £1.5bn by 2019/20. The BCF (announced in the June 2013 spending round) was a single, pooled budget for health and social care services.

Long term funding reform

The spending review also confirmed that the government remained committed to introducing the Dilnot reforms to social care, with funding provided in 2019/20 to cover the costs of local authorities preparing to implement them. The cap on reasonable care costs and extension of means-tested support would be introduced from April 2020.

Adult social care precept

The spending review introduced an adult social care precept, creating opportunities for local authorities to raise new funding to spend exclusively on adult social care. This included the ability to raise council tax in their area by up to 2% above the existing threshold for each year between 2016/17–2019/20. If all local authorities used this flexibility to the maximum effect, it could help to raise nearly £2bn a year by 2019/20. This flexibility was extended in December 2016.

Commentators expressed concern that the precept could increase inequalities between deprived and more affluent councils. The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) responded that the impact of the social care precept would be highly variable and dependent on how much council tax could be raised in an area.

Source(s)

HM Treasury.
Spending review and autumn statement 2015.
UK government; 2015.

ADASS.
ADASS responds to the Autumn Spending Review.
ADASS; 2015.