“Councils in rural areas like Dorset have five times less than to spend on care of the elderly than those in cities, new analysis reveals.
The study by the Salvation Army warns that areas with lower house prices are unable to properly fund social care, because they cannot raise enough from council tax and business rates.
Experts said the findings were evidence of a “dementia lottery” which meant the chance of receiving help were a matter of geography.
The analysis suggests that typically councils in Dorset would have around £5,762 a head to spend on elderly care – while those in Lambeth in London could have more than £31,000 at their disposal.
Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Somerset, East Sussex, Staffordshire, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire were among other areas with the most limited resources, according to the analysis.
All the councils which fared best were in London.
The trends also show an increasing gulf, with “spending power” in rural councils falling, while it is rising in urban areas.
The organisation said it was now having to subsidise places in its own care homes, to the tune of an average £302 per person were week.
Lieut-Colonel Dean Pallant, of The Salvation Army, said: “Rural local authorities have been set up to fail with this flawed formula and it urgently needs revision.
“People are living longer and the population is ageing, the adult social care bill is rising but the local authority funding streams aren’t enough to cover the demand, especially in areas where there are not many businesses or people to tax.”
“The Government must prioritise its spending and properly fund adult social care. …”