Welsh councils ‘owed millions’ in adult social care debts

Welsh councils are owed huge sums in unpaid fees for adult social care, a BBC Wales investigation has discovered.

Figures obtained for just over half the 22 Welsh local authorities for the CF99 programme show more than £17m has not been paid.

Denbighshire, Gwynedd, Pembrokeshire and Torfaen councils are each owed more than £2m.

The Welsh government said that it is prioritising funding for local government to support social services.

The information comes in a week when a call has been made for a “radical debate” on the future of adult social care funding.

The figures were revealed in a series of freedom of information requests made by BBC Wales, with 12 of the 22 authorities responding so far.

The position across Wales varies widely, even among neighbouring authorities such as Gwynedd and Anglesey.

In Gwynedd, the unpaid fee debt tops £2.1m – across the Menai Strait, Anglesey council says its unpaid debts are less than £9,000.

However, all of the councils which responded said they do not keep a record of whether the debts are because of people who are unable or unwilling to pay the fees.

Government funding

Personal assets held as debt also account for a percentage of the figures.

It has also been revealed that more than £4m worth of debt arising from unpaid adult social services has also been written off by more than half of all Welsh councils since 2001, though not all council records went that far back.

Responding to the figures, the Welsh government said that between 2011-2014 it was making an additional £35m available to councils to use on social services.

“We are monitoring that this funding is being used to deliver social services,” said a government spokesperson.

“Local authorities are responsible for managing their budgets in an effective and efficient manner in order to deliver the services they are responsible for in a way that best meets the needs of their local communities.”