Boroughs call for social care funding boost to match NHS investment

  • By JackGraves

Adult social care should receive the same funding increases as the NHS to safeguard London’s future resilience, says the cross-party group London Councils.

Highlighting the importance of adult social care services in the on-going Covid-19 pandemic, boroughs argue that parity with NHS funding growth will help ensure the effectiveness of all parts of the health and care system in the face of future pressures. 

Analysis by London Councils shows that had adult social care spending risen in line with NHS spending since 2010, an additional £800 million would be available to spend on adult social care across the capital in 2020-21 [1].

However, even before Covid-19 London’s adult social care sector faced a funding shortfall of £130 million this year, which could expand to £600 million by 2025 unless investment is increased to meet burgeoning demand for care services [2].

Boroughs are urging ministers to use the government’s upcoming Spending Review – due on 25 November – to address these finance pressures, pointing to the sector’s crucial role in caring for 150,000 Londoners, keeping people out of hospital, and supporting NHS performance.

The Covid-19 pandemic has put unprecedented strain on services. Boroughs’ spending on adult social care has skyrocketed this year, particularly to boost PPE and staffing resources. In total, London boroughs expect to spend around £350 million extra on adult social care in 2020/21 due to Covid-19 – almost one third of their anticipated additional spending.

Cllr Damian White, London Councils’ Executive Member for Health & Care, said:

“Adult social care services have proved themselves essential in supporting so many vulnerable Londoners through the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We also know that adult social care plays a crucial role in keeping people out of hospital and relieving pressure on NHS services. The sector is an invaluable part of our health and care system – and that’s why it needs the same funding increases as the NHS.

“Providing assured, long-term investment in both health and social care is the best way of sustaining services and making sure Londoners receive the support they need in future years.”

Demand for adult social care is increasing rapidly in London, with the capital’s population growing particularly among groups likely to require social care.

Even though London has a generally younger population than the rest of the country, the number of Londoners aged 65 and older is expected to increase by 71% by 2039 – a faster rate than any other region in England. In the same time period, the number of Londoners aged 90 and older is set to grow by 156% [3].

London also has a higher proportion of people of working age needing social care provision. For example, the number of working-age Londoners with a learning disability is expected to increase by 7.8% by 2035 and with impaired mobility by 14% [4].

London Councils is calling for long-term investment in adult social care and other local services. More information on London Councils’ submission to the government’s Spending Review can be found at




Notes to Editors:

[1] Prior to Covid-19 London boroughs’ adult social care expenditure was budgeted to be £2.6bn in 2020/21. Had adult social care expenditure instead risen in line with Department of Health and Social Care funding increases since 2010/11, London boroughs’ adult social care expenditure would have been £3.4bn in 2020/21.

[2] Prior to the pandemic, the LGA estimated an £810 million adult social care funding gap in 2020-21 which could grow to £3.9 billion across England by 2025. London Councils estimates that London’s share of funding gap to be in the region of £130 million in 2020-21, which could grow to £600 million by 2025.

[3] The Office for National Statistics’ subnational population projections for England.

[4] These figures are sourced from PANSI (Projecting Adult Needs and Service Information)