As a follow-up to my previous blogs on the state of social care, this post is really just an attempt to try to keep up to speed with the ongoing saga of the so-called social care precept, whereby local authorities can increase council tax as long as it specifically goes towards social care. You may recall that initially this was capped at 2% per annum for a three-year period, giving a total increase of 6%.
In a recent clash between Jeremy Corbyn and Teresa May, the Labour Leader urged the Prime Minister to replace a corporation tax cut with cash to cover social care costs. The PM replied with a promise of a long-term sustainable system and, of course, she blamed the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn in turn blamed the Conservative Party.
Those that keep up to date with the latest in the care sector will be aware that campaigners have been calling for investment to tackle the funding crisis in services for the elderly and disabled. There was then further debate about bringing the council tax increases forward rather than spreading them over three years. A recent Daily Mail article reported that Surrey County Council is holding a referendum on a potential 16% council tax rise and clearly if it votes to ignore the cap recently imposed then it could pave the way for other local authorities nationwide – Lancashire County Council is also thought to be considering a vote. Interestingly Surrey County Council is Chancellor Philip Hammond’s own local authority.
There are also calls to ditch the Government’s commitment to spend 0.7% of national income on foreign aid and use this towards our own social care.
I will of course continue to monitor these discussions, but I have to say it is quite difficult keeping up with them, given the numerous articles and comments being made from all parts of the sector.