Laura Sharman 12 December 2016

Ministers consider council tax rise to fund social care

Councils could be allowed to increase council tax above the current threshold to fund social care services, it has been reported today.

The prime minister is thought to be in discussion with council leaders about how council tax can be used to plug the social care funding deficit.

Former chancellor George Osborne had previously announced councils would be able to levy a 2% social care precept on council tax. However, councils have already warned the precept will not even cover the cost of the new national living wage, let alone plug the funding gap in social care.

Izzi Seccombe, chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘We have had some dialogue with ministers about this.’

Barbara Keeley, shadow minister for social care, said £4.6bn has been cut from adult social care since 2010.

'The right solution would be for Theresa May to admit the Tories have got it wrong and deliver the needed funding for social care,' she said. 'Asking taxpayers and councils to pick up the bill for the Tories’ failure is no substitute for a proper plan.

'It is time for Tory Ministers to deal with the crisis they have created in funding social care and to develop a sustainable way of funding the social care on which vulnerable and frail older people depend.'

A health think-tank has also warned patching the social care funding gap with short-term fixes will cause the sector to lurch from one crisis to the next.

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