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Soaring social care costs squeeze council, threatening vital services for vulnerable residents

24 January 2024

Adult social care costs in Cheshire East are increasing, placing an unsustainable burden on the council, and jeopardising essential services for thousands of vulnerable residents. 

The latest figures reveal a sharp increase in social care expenditure compared to last year, driven by rising demand and the escalating cost of care packages.

Corcoran-Sam-223x280Councillor Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council, said: "The latest figures paint a stark picture of a social care system in desperate need of reform.

"With demand for adult care services soaring due to an ageing population, an increase in complexity and the after-effects of the pandemic on people’s mental health, we're facing a financial challenge that threatens our ability to provide services to those who need them most."

The impact of rising costs is already being felt across the board. Waiting lists for care packages are lengthening across the country, while vital preventative services and community support programmes are being scaled back or cut altogether. This not only puts immense pressure on families and carers, but also risks leaving some of the most vulnerable residents without the essential care they desperately need.

Councillor Corcoran added: “The council is committed to supporting its most vulnerable residents, but the current funding model for social care is simply broken.

"We welcome the latest announcement of an extra £500m in funding for social care for councils across England as part of the 2024-25 local government finance settlement, although it is not even sufficient to cover the cost of implementing the new Real Living Wage.

"We strongly urge the government to finally address this crisis with a long-term, sustainable solution that ensures everyone has access to the care they need, regardless of their background or financial circumstances."

Cheshire East Council is calling for:

  • Increased government funding for social care to meet the growing demand and ease the pressure on local authorities
  • A fairer funding system that considers the needs of different areas and populations
  • Investment in preventative services and community support to help people stay independent and out of expensive residential care.

"This is not just a financial issue, it's a question about how we care for each other," concluded Councillor Corcoran.

"Our most vulnerable residents deserve to live with dignity and respect, and that means ensuring they have access to the care they need. 

“We call on the government to act now and stop the problem getting worse."