Experts warn cuts risk worsening thousands of older and vulnerable people’s quality of life.
Spending on adult social care in England has fallen by 11 per cent per adult in real-terms since 2009-10, with six in seven councils making at least some cuts and one in ten reducing spending by a quarter or more.
Cuts were greater in areas that had previously spent more on adult social care, and where councils had been assessed as having the greatest need of central government funding.
Some of the greatest cuts have been seen in London and metropolitan areas like Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Tyneside.
Researchers discovered significant variations in adult social care spending across England. A tenth of councils spent about £325 per adult in 2015-16, while an identical number spent £445 per adult – a difference of more than a third.
Areas with more people over pension age and higher levels of disability benefit claims and deprivation typically spent more on social care.
But there also appears to be a correlation between higher spending and higher local earnings levels. These variations, however, only account for around 13 per cent of the differences in social care spending.
The figures suggest that some councils prioritise social care funding over spending on other local services, while the opposite is true for other local authorities – revealing the ‘postcode lottery’ in adult social care services.