Laura Sharman 15 December 2016

Council tax bills to rise 6% to fund social care services

Councils will be allowed to increase council tax by 6% over the next two years in order to fund social care services, communities secretary Sajid Javid confirmed today.

The announcement means councils will be allowed to introduce the social care precept ahead of schedule – increasing council tax by 3% in 2017/18 and 2018/19.

Setting out the local government finance settlement for 2017/18, Mr Javid said the move would help generate an additional £652m by 2020.

He also announced councils will have access to a £240m adult social care support fund.

However, the Local Government Association has previously warned that even if all councils imposed the full precept, it would still leave a funding gap of more than £2.6bn by 2020.

The National Care Association also said the Government has been too late in acknowledging the social care funding crisis, and this ’quick fix’ would not fully address the problem.

Chairman Nadra Ahmed said: ‘It is quite evident the independent care home sector cannot survive to serve social care when local authority and clinical commissioning groups are reducing the funding per resident by 8% on average, while providers endure a 7% year on year increase in wage bills alone.

‘What’s more, any "quick fix" measures of the kind proposed in the current debate fail to take account of those local authorities whose residents are most in need of care services, many of them exempt from paying council tax or qualifying for tax relief.

‘Sadly, these proposals cannot begin to approach a solution to an endemic problem that threatens a care home sector already under threat from further austerity cuts.’

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