Wigan bill for adults in need is region’s second biggest

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WIGAN Council is spending more than £70m on supporting adults in need – one of the biggest bills of its kind in the North West.

Information requested through the Freedom of Information Act shows the huge burden such important responsibilities place on the local public purse.

For the year ending last month the council had budgeted £77,7m for all adult social care, with £30m of it spent on adults under 65 with a learning disability, totalling 15 per cent of the council’s total expenditure.

Of the overall Wigan spend on this sector, £15m goes on community services and supported living, such as home care services; £18.5m on residential services, such as placement in care homes; £7.3m on cash payments to the service user to commission services; £15.2m on personal care costs delivered by in-house providers, such as day services.

Another £8.1m goes to supporting people and early intervention, plus low level services such as community alarms; and £2.7m is spent on targeted intervention and prevention.

The council currently supports 7,058 adults with physical disabilities; 1,580 adults with mental health issues; 858 with learning difficulties and 45 adults who misuse drugs and alcohol.

From 2007/08 to 2010/11, spending increased from £72,357,000 to £81,308, but has since dipped again.

But the council is spending more than other authorities, with the exception of Manchester City Council.

Stuart Cowley, director of personalisation at Wigan Council, said: “The total spend in 2011/12 has decreased from the previous year, which reflects the direction that our spend is going in, as like all other councils, Wigan is facing a challenging financial situation and was expected to find significant savings in 2011/12.

“It is important to note however that despite increases in the older population and with people with disabilities surviving longer, Wigan Council’s strategy to invest in early intervention and prevention is intended to stabilise demand for services.

“The budget covers spend on all adults whose circumstances make them vulnerable and results in them having significant needs which makes them eligible to receive support under Fair Access to Care criteria.

“The budget therefore provides funding for services for older people, people with mental health issues, learning disabilities, physical disabilities and problems with substance misuse.”