Councils able to raise council tax to fund social care

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Councils in England will be able to raise the adult social care precept by three per cent over the next two years, the government has confirmed, providing some degree of relief for a social care system under strain.

Sajid Javid, the communities and local government secretary, confirmed the move in a much-anticipated statement to the House of Commons on Thursday (15 December) detailing the financial settlement for local government.

In it, Mr Javid also announced that councils will be able to access some of the £240m New Homes Bonus to spend on social care.

The NHS Confederation – which has long spoken of the knock-on effects cuts to social care have on the NHS – welcomed the intervention, but said it does not go far enough as it fails to address the long-term funding shortfall.

“While this announcement is a step in the right direction it does not go far enough” the head of the NHS Confederation, Stephen Dalton, said.

Summary of announcements

  • Councils will be able to raise council tax by 3 per cent in 2017/18 and 3 per cent in 2018/19, as part of the social care precept – the government estimates this will allow councils to raise £208m in 2017/18 and £440 in 2018/19. Previously, it was planned for councils to raise tax by 2 per cent a year under the precept.
  • A £240m ‘adult social care support grant’ will be introduced next year to be divided by local authorities based on need, which will be funded by savings from reforms to New Homes Bonus already received by councils.
The announcement follows mounting pressure on the government to address the social care crisis.

The Department of Communities and Local Government and Department of Health also today published details of public health grants, worth £3.3 billion to local authorities in 2017/18.

The government expects the ten local authorities in Manchester to fund their public health activities from April 2017 through retained business rates, as part of a wider pilot of business rate retention.

A ‘cacophony of input’

Organisations from across the health and care sector, including the NHS Confederation, condemned the Chancellor last month for failing to include – or even mention – measures to tackle the social care crisis in the Autumn Statement.

Over the past two years, the Confederation has tirelessly campaigned for a sustainable funding settlement for NHS and care – both in its own right and with key strategic partners across the health and social care sector.

It played a leading role in the ‘cacophony of input’, as described by Chancellor Philip Hammond this week, in the run up to the Autumn Statement. 

Find out more

View the details in full on the Department for Communities and Local Government website.

Read the latest NHS Voices post from Paul Healy, the Confed's head of analysis, with his views on today's announcement.

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