New analysis reveals the crippling cuts that will be forced on key frontline services including adult social care in London if the Government continues to back-track on their pledge to support councils in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis.

Local authorities are by far the largest funder of adult social care in England. They now face a £10bn Coronavirus black hole, forcing cuts across the board, indicating a £3.5bn cut to adult social care this year.

The new analysis, based on 2019/20 budget estimates, local authorities’ Coronavirus-related costs and income losses, and adult social care budget data from the Kings Fund and Department for Health and Social Care shows:

  • A £10bn Coronavirus black hole for local authorities would mean £3.5bn cut to social care: On 2020/21 budgets 21% cuts across local authority budgets would mean £3.5bn to adult social care as well cuts of £2bn to children’s social care and £700m to public health;
  • Equivalent of 225,000 adult social care places severely reduced or gone altogether: A £3.5bn cut in local authority adult social care spending is the equivalent of 176,000 long-term adult social care places for over 65s, and 23,000 short-term places;
  • 31,274 places would go in London alone;
  • Other key services would be at risk of cuts if the Government fails to plug the funding gap, including libraries, children’s centres, leisure centres, public parks, road safety, road gritting and street lighting.


Last month in a letter to the Prime Minister, Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs set out the estimated cost facing Tower Hamlets Council for the coronavirus response. The council estimates for the full year (2020-21), it will spend an additional £24.4m due to pressures caused by COVID-19, while income will reduce by £34.6m. This comes on top of the £190m in savings the council has been forced to make since 2010 with a further £39m required by 2023.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said: “People in Tower Hamlets will find these figures very worrying. Everyone in this community knows the sacrifice and the loss we have endured through the coronavirus crisis, and we all know the enormous strain on our carers, and our friends and family who rely on their care. It is beyond belief that the government is not standing by them in their hour of need.

“31,274 vulnerable people losing care across London would be a hammer blow. As Mayor of Tower Hamlets my team and I will do whatever we can to shield those most in need from these cuts, but the reality is that if ministers don’t fulfil their promise and close the £10bn funding gap then frontline services will bear the brunt and our community will suffer.”

Cllr Amina Ali, Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing, said: “Social care is one of the most important frontline services that local councils provide, and they have made an enormous contribution during the coronavirus crisis. Most of us will at least know someone who relies on social care services, and the impact of these services being withdrawn because the Government has backtracked on earlier promises will be devastating.”

Shadow Communities and Local Government secretary Steve Reed MP said: “Carers and our loved ones they care for are on the frontline of the fight against Coronavirus.

“Local authorities are the biggest funders of social care in England – so when the Government promised to stand behind councils through this crisis Labour supported them.

“But now Ministers are breaking that promise, leaving councils with a £10bn black hole forcing 21% cuts across the board. Unless the Government drops those plans the frontline heroes we’re cheering today will lose their jobs tomorrow and the equivalent of 225,000 frail and frightened older people and vulnerable adults will lose the support they rely on.

“That would be a catastrophe for social care, disastrous for those who lose support as providers are forced out of business, and would once again fail the very people putting their lives on the line to get us through this crisis.”

“This government promised to do whatever it takes – if our loved ones see care taken away in their hour of need it will be devastating and unacceptable. The Government should change course, now.”

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