Latest Public Sector News

01.04.16

Most councils to use care precept as tax bills see highest rise in 8 years

Around 95% of councils in England will be taking advantage of the government’s new social care precept from 2016-17, DCLG figures have shown, as cities ready themselves for the largest increase in council tax in eight years.

The figures, released yesterday, showed that 144 of 152 social care authorities will use all or some of the 2% precept when setting their council tax this financial year, which kicks off today (1 April).

The increase in tax brought on by the precept largely accounts for the 3.1% hike in council tax this year. Compared to last year, the increase would have been just 1.6%, with the care precept now adding 1.5% to that measure.

The last time tax increased by more than 3% was in 2008-09, when the average Band D council tax rose to £1,373, a change of 3.9% from the previous year. This year, average tax has escalated to £1,530.

Overall, the adult social care precept in 2016-17 will total £382m. The overall council tax requirement, including the care and parish precepts, is £26.1bn.

But Richard Humphries, assistant director of policy at the King’s Fund, was quoted as saying that even if the precept does raise £382m, it still “falls way short of the funding gap in adult social care, which is about £1.2bn”.

“So this is a hopelessly inadequate response to the growing pressures on social care,” he added. “Local authorities have to wait until 2018 before any significant new money arrives through the new Better Care Fund. What happens between now and then is anyone’s guess.”

In February, when the LGA argued that council tax precept rises will not be enough to fix the “social care funding crisis”, its vice chair, Cllr Nick Forbes, said: “After years of striving to keep council tax as low as possible or frozen, town halls find themselves having no choice but to ask residents to pay more council tax over the next few years to offset some of the spiralling costs of social care in 2016-17.

“At the same time, they are warning communities that despite council tax rising, the quality and quantity of services on offer could drop, as the income will not be enough to offset the full impact of further funding reductions next year and with the National Living Wage bringing a significant further cost pressure from April.”

But communities secretary Greg Clark argued differently, saying yesterday that England’s “historic four-year funding deal” for councils gives them “certainty to plan ahead” and meets their request to prioritise social care.

“Today's figures show how councils are keeping council tax low, and using the freedom they asked for to set a social care precept as part of local bills,” he added.

“Even with this, council tax will still be lower in real terms in 2019-20 than in 2009-10 – and this year's increase is still lower than the average 6.2% annual increase between 1997 and 2010.”

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Parliament cannot solve homelessness through legislation alone

Parliament cannot solve homelessness through legislation alone

Cllr Michelle Lowe, deputy leader and cabinet member for housing and health at Sevenoaks District Council, argues that if the government is really serious about combating homelessness they will work more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Time to embrace change

01/03/2017Time to embrace change

The way we work is changing. As a profession, we must be ready to embrace i... more >
Digital Marketplace: reaching far and wide in the public sector

01/03/2017Digital Marketplace: reaching far and wide in the public sector

Over the next few months, the Government Digital Service (GDS) wants to get... more >

interviews

Leading transformational change through procurement

01/03/2017Leading transformational change through procurement

Liz Welton, chair of the Society of Procurement Officers in Local Governmen... more >

the raven's daily blog

Why opening up procurement matters to the UK public sector

22/03/2017Why opening up procurement matters to the UK public sector

Rob Levene, managing director of Bloom, explains why opening up procurement is important to the UK public sector.  Procuring products and services by the UK public s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

21/02/2017Untapped potential

As PSE went to press, the government had just released its Industrial Strategy green paper, which has an ambitious aim to “improve living standards and economic growth by increasing productivity and driving growth across the whole country”.  Overall, the strategy was welcomed across the public sector. However, as you’ll read throughout this edition of the magazine, in order to make the aspirations a reality, there needs to be a greater level of freedom for all... read more >