Laura Sharman 16 November 2016

£2.4bn in unallocated business rates could 'ease social care crisis'

Councils should be given the £2.4bn in unallocated business rates to support social care services, a trade union has argued today.

In a new report, Unison said the surplus money raised from business rates would also help councils avoid having to increase council tax by the 2% social care precept.

Investing in Social Care said the Treasury is predicting the extra income over the next two years as it now receives more in business rates from English local authorities than it pays out to them in revenue support grant.

‘The social care system is in dire straits. There’s simply not enough money to fund the care that’s needed,’ warned Dave Prentis, Unison’s general secretary.

He added: ‘Investing £2.4bn in social care would be money extremely well spent. Not only would it mean better care for the elderly, it would ease the pressure on homecare staff, and free up beds in the NHS.’

Ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement, Unison is also urging the chancellor to fully fund student nurse bursaries and end the 1% public sector pay cap.

Sector insiders have also warned this week that the £1.9bn funding gap in children’s services by 2020 is expected to cause ‘just as big a headache’ for councils as adult social care.

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