Wales politics

Mental health: 'Huge variations' in council spending

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"Huge variations" in council spending on mental health are worrying, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have said.

While Monmouthshire spent 11.23% of its adult social care budget on mental health in 2014/15, Blaenau Gwent spent 2.35%, the party claimed.

Overall, councils spent 4.7% of those budgets on mental health in 2014/15, compared to 5.2% in 2012/13.

Council leaders said mental health spending was rising in cash terms, but not as much as other social services.

Welsh Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams said: "With demand in mental health services rising year after year, and mental health conditions becoming more understood and treatable, you would expect the proportion of social care money spent on these services to rise.

"To see the opposite happening across Wales is worrying.

"What's even more concerning is seeing the huge variation in council spend on mental health.

"Demand in different areas of Wales can't be as different as these figures make them out to be."


A spokesman for the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) said: "Councils are having to manage increased public demand for services at the same time that the funds available to run services have been subject to an unprecedented level of cuts."

But he also accused the Lib Dems of a "misleading interpretation" of the statistics, saying spending on mental health services was still rising in cash terms - up by £5m between 2011/12 to 2014/15 - but not increasing as much as spending on other social services.

A Welsh government spokesman said: "The mental health needs placed on social care budgets are demand led and the percentage breakdown would not be the same in every local authority area every year."

He added that the figures did not include mental health spending by the NHS, which was higher than any other part of the health service at more than £600m for 2015/16.

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