Upcoming council tax rises not enough to stem social care crisis, LGA warns

20 Feb 17

Nearly all local authorities in England with responsibility for social care are set to raise council tax by the maximum 4.99% allowed without a referendum, but the Local Government Association today warned this will not solve the sector’s funding crisis.

Publishing an analysis of the likely increases across the country, the LGA said that even tax rises, there would need to be further deep cuts to local services next year.

All councils can raise council tax by up to 1.99 per cent in 2017/18 to fund local services without the need for a referendum. In addition, England's 151 social care authorities can increase council tax by up to a further 3%.
According to LGA figures, 147 of England’s 151 social care authorities (97%) are considering or have approved introducing the social care precept in 2017/18 – which would raise £543m to pay for social care services.

However, the association warned this would not be enough to meet the costs of an increase in the National Living Wage in 2017-18, which will rise from £7.20 to £7.50 an hour in April at a cost to councils of over £600m.

LGA chair Lord Porter said services supporting the most vulnerable people in our communities are at breaking point. meaning councils are increasingly unable to turn down the chance to raise funds.
“But extra council tax income will not bring in anywhere near enough money to alleviate the growing pressure on social care both now and in the future. The social care precept raises different amounts of money in different parts of the country,” he highlighted.

“Social care faces a funding gap of at least £2.6bn by 2020. It cannot be left to council taxpayers alone to try and fix this crisis. Without genuinely new additional government funding for social care, vulnerable people face an ever-uncertain future where they might no longer receive the dignified care and support they deserve. This is not only worse for our loved ones but will also heap further pressure and wasted expense on the NHS.”
Porter called on the forthcoming final Local Government Finance Settlement this month to provide new money for social care.

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