Local authorities in England had to foot a £17.5billion social care bill last year – up £556million – in the face of unrelenting pressure on budgets.
Experts last night warned the crisis could worsen, with new estimates showing social care faces an annual funding gap of £2.3billion by 2020.
The scandal engulfing the health care system comes as Britain splurges £13.3billion of taxpayers’ money on foreign aid each year.
It has seen thousands sign our Stop The Foreign Aid Madness crusade, demanding the Government reassigns cash earmarked for overseas projects to the UK’s own care crisis.
NHS Digital figures reveal increased spending on social care in 2016/17 was the first time expenditure had risen in real terms since 2009/10.
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But councils were only able to spend more on frontline care services because they had permission to hike council tax precepts by two per cent.
The move raised an extra £382million, but meant hard-pressed families once again footed the bill.
The Adult Social Care Activity and Finance Report showed councils received 1.8 million requests for support from new clients last year.
Linda Thomas, vice chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Figures show councils do all they can to protect adult social care services.
“But the increase in demand and cost of services is adding to the huge pressure they are already under to support older and disabled people – keeping them at home living independently in the community.
“Social care faces an annual funding gap of £2.3billion by 2020. It is vital the Government sets out in the Autumn Budget how it will address the social care crisis and deliver long-lasting reform that meets the needs of all adults needing social care.”
Nine in 1,000 people aged 18 to 64, and 58 in 1,000 people aged 65 and over, received long-term support provided or arranged by their council last year.
The number receiving long-term care over the year was 868,000.
Weekly residential and nursing care costs rose last year with the average cost of residential care for someone aged 65 and over now costing £565, up from £549 in 2015/16.
The cost of nursing care for the same age group increased to £606 a week from £563.
Thousands of Daily Express readers have joined our crusade demanding the diversion of billions of pounds of foreign aid into Britain’s creaking social care system.
Readers have signed up to an online petition and called to cast a phone vote. Meanwhile, postal coupons have flooded into our headquarters.
Our petition urges the Prime Minister to cut Britain’s foreign aid budget and spend more money at home.
International Development Secretary Priti Patel is now under pressure to address the scandal and scrap a commitment that sees 0.7 per cent of our national income sent abroad.
With the Autumn Budget due to be unveiled on November 22, Chancellor Philip Hammond is facing repeated calls to plough billions of pounds extra into areas suffering shortfalls in cash, like social care and the NHS.
Sign the online petition at express.co.uk/stop-the-foreign-aid-madness