Government: Social Care Funding Increase Through Optional 6% Council Tax Hike
The Government will unveil plans to raise council tax by 6% for the next two years in an effort to plug the social care funding gap, according to Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.
The proposals will give local councils the power to increase council tax by 3% in 2017/18, and an additional 3% in 2018/19, with the proviso that all money raised by the levies go to funding care for the elderly and disabled.
Former Chancellor George Osborne had previously announced a 'social care precept' in November 2015 enabling local authorities to raise council tax by 2% between 2016/17 to cover social care funding, but these latest changes have been brought in to raise money sooner.
However, local councils have warned that even if the maximum levy was applied by every authority, there would still be a £2.6 billion shortfall in social care funding by 2020.
Speaking to Sky News, a senior government source acknowledged Javid's plan as a short-term fix, and that a longer-term solution would need to be found to solve the funding crisis.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn criticised the government's stance on social care funding at Prime Minister's Questions last Wednesday, suggesting that 'passing the buck to local government' would create differing standards of care and a postcode lottery.
Social care funding declined by 9% in real terms over the last five years due to austerity measures imposed by David Cameron's government, sparking criticism of Westminster by local authorities over the cuts.
These cuts have also affected the NHS as cuts to local authority services has led to many elderly and frail patients being admitted to hospitals, blocking beds and putting strain on the service.
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