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Public Accounts Committee
Report published 2 December 2015.
Since 2010, central government has significantly reduced its funding to local authorities and tried to limit authorities’ council tax increases. It has offered them ‘freeze’ grants and required them to get taxpayers’ consent for increases above a level that Parliament set.
The National Audit Office have estimated that from 2010–11 to 2015–16 local authorities’ ‘spending power’ will have reduced by 25%. The government recognises that placing unfunded new requirements on local authorities puts pressure on them either to increase locally raised income or reduce spending on existing activities.
The Care Act 2014 aims to reduce reliance on formal care, to promote people’s independence and well-being, and give people more control of their own care and support. For many local authorities, adult social care is one of the biggest areas of spending, with estimated net spending in 2014–15 at £14.4 billion. The Act increases demand for assessments and services to carers at a time when local authority provision has been falling and the number of people in need is rising. In a challenging financial environment, with pressure on all services, authorities may not have enough resources to respond if demand for care exceeds.
This inquiry looks at the costs of the Care Act reforms and the demands they place on local authorities, and how government is assessing new requirements which increase local government spending.
Evidence given by Una O'Brien, Permanent Secretary, and Jon Rouse, Director General, Social Care, Local Government and Care Partnerships, Department of Health, Melanie Dawes, Permanent Secretary, and Matthew Style, Director of Local Government Finance, Department for Communities and Local Government.
Public Accounts Committee publishes report on Care Act first-phase reforms and local government new burdens