Districts demand equal freedom over council tax rises

26 Jan 16

District councils are calling for the same freedoms to increase council tax as social care authorities in order to boost prevention and tackle health inequalities.

In a report published today, the District Councils’ Network said that the power to levy a 2% “prevention precept” could help districts expand on their public health role to cover greater preventative spend.

At the November Spending Review, chancellor George Osborne announced that he would allow authorities with responsibilities for social care to increase council tax by 2% above the referendum cap in order to support these services.

However, the DCN stated today that allowing all authorities to increase taxation for health and social care services would help support community health and wellbeing by ensuring services are integrated with areas such as planning and economic development.

DCN chair Neil Clarke said districts make a major but often under-recognised contribution to the health of their citizens and communities.

“Prevention work is shown to be far more effective than all other measures, and it is for this solidly-evidenced reason that we are making the district council case for solving the funding anomaly in district and county areas and giving our members the freedom to set a 2% prevention precept,” he added.

“A 2% district levy targeted toward prevention initiatives would be an excellent start in averting higher future health costs and could repay as much as £70 for every £1 invested by districts in our areas.”

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