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Carers UK responds to the Adult Social Care Activity and Finance Report, 2017-18

23 October 2018

The latest data from NHS Digital on Adult Social Care Spending in England, which includes support for those caring unpaid for adults, was published on the 23rd of October 2018.

This data covering the 2017-2018 reporting period showed:

  • In 2017-18 360,310 carers were either supported or assessed by the local authorities during the year. This represents a decrease of 2.4% from the 368,990 carers supported in 2016-17.
  • £154 million was spent on support for carers in 2017-18, a 7.2% decrease from £166 million in 2016-17. However, Councils have suggested that this measure does not capture their full spending on carers.
  • The most common support for carers consisted of Information, Advice and other Universal Services or Signposting, with 199,410 carers receiving this as the most intensive form of support during the year. This accounted for 55.3% of carers receiving support in 2017-18, up from 50.9% last year)
  • 44,180 (12.3%) carers received respite or other forms of carer support delivered to the cared-for person in 2017-18 compared to 14.1% in 2016-17. There was a decrease in the number of carers receiving respite in all regions except for the West Midlands.

Responding to the data, Emily Holzhausen OBE, Director of Policy at Carers UK said:

“Comparing this year’s figures to previous years, we can see that from 2014/15 to 2017/18 there has been an 18.5% decrease across England in the number of carers being assessed or supported by their local authority. Despite a small increase in overall spending on adult social care, fewer carers are receiving vital support than in previous years.


These findings are reflected in our own research, where 1 in 7 carers reported they or those they support received less care or support services during the previous year due to a reduction in the amount of support from social services. Many carers told us about service reductions that had caused hardship for them and the person they care for, often affecting their own mental and physical health. For a number of carers, these changes had caused them fear regarding the future and uncertainty about how they might cope with their caring responsibilities going forward.


Today’s figures also indicate that there has been a 15.0% decrease in the number of carers receiving respite from 2016/17 to 2017/18, and a 20.1% decrease from 2014/15 to 2017/18. It is no wonder that we hear from carers everyday who are struggling to cope, many of whom are at breaking point.


Being able to take time away from caring is fundamental for carers to be able to maintain a life outside caring. Carers UK continues to call on the Department of Health and Social Care to urgently increase access to breaks for carers in England in the short-term and ensure long-term sustainable funding.”

Full data is available on the NHS Digital website -

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