New savings of £20m to pay for ever increasing social care costs

These rises in demand have come at a time when revenue from central Government grants has dropped steadily – a reduction of 50 per cent in real terms since 2010 - and the council’s ability to raise finance through taxation has been limited by central Government.

Around half of the council’s budget is now spent on two per cent of the population (people in receipt of social care).

If demand continues to increase in line with current trends it is forecast that social care services could account for 75 per cent of the council’s budget by 2020.

Social care pressures in numbers

  • The number of children in care has risen from around 400 to more than 500 in just 18 months
  • The number of older people receiving care has grown by seven per cent in the last year, and other client groups supported by the council even more rapidly - people with learning disabilities by 14 per cent, people with mental health problems by 19 per cent and people with physical disabilities by 19 per cent.
  • The council has 7,600 adult social care clients at an average cost of £21,000 a year and more than 500 children in care at an average cost of more than £34,000 per year.

When would the new savings happen?

The new £20m of savings will take place in the financial years 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18.

Cabinet will consider the proposals on December 16. Full Council would make final decisions in February.

Non-social care services squeezed

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, the leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “The council is facing unprecedented budget pressures from the rising costs of care and this pressure is expected to continue for years to come.

“Since 2010 we have had five years of reducing council costs and finding savings of more than £200m.

“We are now at the stage where around half our budget is spent on two per cent of the population - older people; people with physical and learning disabilities, and vulnerable children.

“As our population grows and ages, demand is rising and providing care could account for three-quarters of our budget by 2020. We have a legal responsibility to provide this care and we willingly provide it. However the rising cost regrettably means others services valued by the majority of residents such as roads and public transport are being squeezed.

“Unless we get additional funding, the county council will struggle to do anything but provide a safety net for the most vulnerable people in Oxfordshire.”

Increased devolution

“The time has come to devolve more power and resources from central government to local government, including here in Oxfordshire. That should include keeping business rates and setting our own Council Tax rate.

“This is the only way that in future we will be able to provide the services valued by the vast majority of residents in Oxfordshire.”