Trends in per capita expenditure on adult learning disability services across health boards and local authorities in Scotland, from 2012/13 to 2014/15


In response to the global financial crisis in 2007/08, the UK implemented an austerity programme in 2010 which may impact upon expenditure on adult learning disabilities health and social care services. Scotland is a geographically diverse country with both densely-populated urban areas and highly-dispersed remote and rural communities. The challenges in the provision of services in such diverse areas may differ and impact upon expenditure.

What we did

Expenditure data was extracted from the Scottish Local Government Financial Statistics and Scottish Health Service Costs. Per capita expenditure was calculated using Scotland’s 2011 census data and projections for 2012-2015.

What we found

There was a 3.41% real terms decrease in expenditure on adult learning disabilities services from £975,904,242 in 2012/13 to £943,692,001 in 2014/15 (>£32million). In 2014/15, per capita expenditure on adult learning disabilities health care ranged from £1,211-£17,595; social care ranged from £21,147-£83,831; and combined health and social care ranged from £37,703-£85,929. The largest area had a year-on-year reduction, but others did not. Per capita expenditure was greater in rural areas, with more on adult learning disabilities social care than health care.

What these findings mean

Scottish expenditure on adult learning disabilities services is flat-lining, despite rising living costs. It varies considerably across Scotland: a post-code lottery of inequality. In 2016, Scotland integrated health and social care services and budgets but the impact of this new arrangement is yet to be seen. However, we now have baseline data on expenditure for Scotland, to support future research on health and social care post-integration outcomes.

For further information, please contact Angela Henderson

Page updated 3rd August 2018

Link to full publication