Projecting future demand and expenditure for adult social care in Scotland

Bucher, Pauline (2022) Projecting future demand and expenditure for adult social care in Scotland. Fraser of Allander Economic Commentary, 46 (3).

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Scottish Government plans for the National Care Service will involve significant investment in order to make the changes set out in the National Care Service Bill, and then further investment to make improvements to frontline care and to address unmet need (see our previous brief on the National Care Service for Scotland here). However, even without the reforms proposed, expenditure on social care is likely to rise as a result of an aging population. This additional expenditure is from 'met need' i.e., individuals who currently receive social care as opposed to unmet need i.e., those with social care need who are not currently eligible for social care services, buy may become eligible through future reforms. In this briefing, we set out the various methods used to try and project both future demand and expenditure of this met need in the adult social care system. We provide a basic estimate of projected future demand and expenditure for adult social care, as well as discussion of future factors that might improve this estimate.