Social care funding

Published: 14th Dec 2016

In brief


£4.6 billion was cut from the adult social care budget in the last parliament.


The report behind the figure says the actual budget fell by £1.6 billion, with the rest of the £4.6 billion attributed to more people needing social care and the cost of social care having risen. We don’t know how accurate these figures are, though social care spending did fall overall during the last parliament. We’re checking the figures.

“We have been putting more money into social care and health”

Theresa May, 14 December 2016

“The Prime Minister doesn’t seem to be aware that £4.6 billion was cut from the social care budget in the last parliament”

Jeremy Corbyn, 14 December 2016

It’s correct that spending on adult social care fell in the last parliament according to analysis from health experts the Nuffield Trust, Health Foundation and King’s Fund.

By contrast, funding is expected to rise in this parliament, taking inflation into account, although not until 2017. That said, the same experts warn this won’t be enough to make the system sustainable.

Mr Corbyn is referring to day-to-day spending by local councils in his claim, using estimates from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS).

An ADASS report in June 2015, based on a survey of its members, claimed that there had been a £4.6 billion reduction in adult social care budgets between 2010/11 and 2015/16.

It only put £1.6 billion of this down to cash reductions. The balance was down to more older and disabled people needing care (£1.75 billion) and price pressures (£1.25 billion).

We’re looking in to the figures in more detail and will update when we know more.

Mrs May, meanwhile, is talking about more recent changes to funding. In 2015 the government announced changes, including a ‘social care precept’ allowing councils to raise council tax by up to 2% a year to fund social care, and putting more central government money into the ‘Better Care Fund’ designed to help the NHS and councils coordinate social care.

Projections suggest spending will rise over this parliament, although that depends on how much councils decide to and manage to raise.

Correction 16 February 2017

We’ve changed our conclusion from “Correct according to the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services”. This overstated what we knew at the time about the research behind the figure, and didn’t address what the £4.6 billion represented. We’re looking in more detail into the figure and we’re hoping to update the article when we know more.

This factcheck is part of a roundup of Prime Minister's Questions. Read the roundup.

Was this page useful to you? Yes No

We aim for our factchecks to be as accurate and up-to-date as possible. If you think we've made an error or missed some relevant information, please email