Biggest rise in local authority spend to be on adult social services

9 Aug 17

The biggest rise in local authority expenditure in England next year will be on adult social services, government figures have shown.

Expenditure on cultural services will see the biggest drop - of 6.8% (£161m) from 2016/17 to 2017/18, the The Department for Local Communities and Government budget for the current financial year revealed.  

Service spend for adult social care services will rise 8.6% from £14.4bn in 2016/17 to £15.6bn in 2017/18, the figures out at the end of last month showed. 

Education, highways and transport services, public health and housing will also see falls in expenditure. See below.


Net current expenditure 2016/17

Net current expenditure 2017/18

Percentage drop





Highways and transport








Public health





Children’s services are expected to see spending increased - DCLG figures showed councils are budgeting a 2.5% bump in expenditure this year, rising from around £7.8bn last year to £8bn this year.

The DCLG stated in the statistical release that the reason for a reduction in the education budget “[continued] to be driven by local authority schools changing status to centrally funded academies”.

Figures showed that net current expenditure for councils is projected to be £33.3bn in 2017/18, a decrease of £868m (2.5%), from 2016/17 when it stood at £34.2bn.

This year councils will be able to charge residents an adult social care precept for the second year, which is expected to net them £552m and they will receive £1.1bn for the service from the Better Care Fund.

Increases in planned expenditure comes amid growing pressure on social services.

The Local Government Association has repeatedly warned that councils are struggling to meet the increasing demand of both adult and social care users.

Children’s social care services are facing a £2bn funding shortfall by 2020, according to LGA research.

Overall revenue expenditure for local authorities is due to rise from £94.1bn in 2016/17 to £94.5bn in 2017/18, a 0.4% increase.

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