People in Blackburn with Darwen spent millions of pounds of their own money to care for friends and relatives last year, new figures show.

NHS Digital figures show people in Blackburn with Darwen paid £8.1 million for adult social care services in 2022-23 – up from £7.9 million the year before.

In total, Blackburn with Darwen council spent £84.2 million providing services last year.

The council can offset the amount it spends on providing care through various income and funding streams, such as investment from the NHS and contributions from patients.

Last year, it received £26.5 million. It means the council's net spend on providing adult social care sat at £57.7 million – up from £54.4 million in 2021-22.

Spending for adult social care has rocketed across England, but health think tank the Nuffield Trust warned patchy data means the amount paid privately is likely underestimated.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a further £4.7 billion in funding for adult social care up to 2024-25 in last year's autumn budget, but the Local Government Association wrote to him ahead of this year's budget calling for "substantial new investment to help tackle unmet and under-met" needs.

The LGA wrote to Mr Hunt last week, urging him to provide further funding for councils to deliver adult social care services. It said last year's investment "will do little more than allow councils to stand still".

Cllr David Fothergill, chairman of the LGA's Community Wellbeing Board, said: "Councils have increased their spending on adult social care, but evidence shows that there is still an unacceptable amount of unmet and under-met need.

"Councils are facing increased demand for services and unprecedented inflationary and pay pressures, and urgent action must be taken to address these issues."

Further NHS Digital figures show 1.8 per cent of people were extremely or very dissatisfied with the level of care they received last year – one of the highest proportions in the country.

Meanwhile, 65.8 per cent were extremely or very satisfied with their care.

Natasha Curry, deputy director of policy at the Nuffield Trust, said: "Means testing thresholds haven't changed since 2010, so fewer people qualify for public funding, and those who pay for their own care are finding it to be more expensive due to inflation.

"Many self-funders are forced to make the difficult decision to reduce the care visits and packages that they access because costs are too high."

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “The government has made available up to £8.1 billion over this year and next to strengthen adult social care provision.

"This funding will enable local authorities to buy more care packages, help people leave hospital on time, improve workforce recruitment and retention, and reduce waiting times for care.

"The new funding represents a more than real terms increase and data published last week showed that spending on adult social care has increased in real terms for eight consecutive years."

Cllr Mustafa Desai, executive member for adult social care and health, said: “The council has a statutory duty to protect the most vulnerable people in our local communities, including those with assessed care and support needs.

"As part of this duty, we work hard to ensure that the resources available to us are used in the best way possible to deliver services to support our residents.

"This includes services that provide long term care to individuals and those that provide rehabilitation and wellbeing support to enable residents to stay well and independent for as long as possible.

“Adult social care finances are a complicated set of arrangements which have been the subject of national debate and proposals for reform.

"BwD, in common with all English local authorities, charge for long term care services using nationally set criteria. The majority of service users do not pay the full cost.  

"All charges are based around an individual’s financial situation and their ability to pay. There is  a maximum contribution from those that are eligible for support.

“Approximately 40 per cent of the council's total budget is spent on adult social care.  

"Elements of the budget are grant related and have conditions set.  

"The providers we commission have received a significant increase in rates this year  to acknowledge rising costs and enable them to provide quality services. 

"Approximately 4,000 people are employed in this sector locally, the majority of whom are BwD residents supporting the local economy.”