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Council tax hikes will not fill social care deficit, LGA warns


20 February 2017

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Increasing council tax will not prevent the need for continued cutbacks to local services, including social care, council leaders have warned.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has said that, despite local authorities being allowed to raise council tax by an extra 3% in 2017/18 to fund social care, local services will still need to be cut to fill the local government deficit.

All councils can increase council tax by up to 1.99% in 2017/18 to fund local services without the need for a referendum.

Increasing council tax will not prevent the need for continued cutbacks to local services, including social care, council leaders have warned.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has said that, despite local authorities being allowed to raise council tax by an extra 3% in 2017/18 to fund social care, local services will still need to be cut to fill the local government deficit.

All councils can increase council tax by up to 1.99% in 2017/18 to fund local services without the need for a referendum.

But England's 151 social care authorities can increase council tax by up to a further 3% in 2017/18 (4.99% in total) to fund social care.

The added 3% is expected to raise £543 million for social care, but the LGA has said this will be lost to the Government’s National Living Wage, which will cost councils £600 million to fund.

The LGA said that the growing social care funding gaps will have to be plugs with money diverted from other local services, including maintaining parks and running children's centres, leisure centres and libraries.

The local authority deficit is set to reach £5.8 billion by 2020.

Lord Porter, LGA chairman, said: ‘Social care faces a funding gap of at least £2.6 billion 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.’

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