The crisis in adult social care has now reached a tipping point for local authorities, and the government is pushing the burden on to local taxpayers by telling councils to plug the funding gap by raising council tax.
Local authorities, social care providers, charities and the NHS have warned government ministers about the threat to social care and the urgent need for additional government funding to protect services caring for elderly and disabled people. Politicians of all parties have criticised the government for failing to address the real impact of cuts to social care on vulnerable people who rely on social care services, as well as the NHS which is increasingly struggling to cope with demand.
Despite these warnings, the Chancellor completely ignored the funding crisis completely in the Autumn Statement, failing to put forward any sort of solution. Now the government has pushed the financial burden onto local taxpayers, telling local authorities to put up council tax to plug the funding gap.
Southwark Labour committed to keeping council tax rises at or below inflation, but for the last seven years has been able to go even further by freezing council tax altogether. This year, with the crisis in social care and another year of cuts from Government, Southwark’s cabinet has proposed a 1.99% rise in council tax, alongside the 3% adult social care precept brought forward by the government to tackle the immediate social care pressures.
Cllr Fiona Colley, cabinet member for finance and modernisation, said: “We promised to keep council tax low and we’re continuing to keep that promise, with rates in Southwark remaining amongst the lowest in London. The reality is that we’re facing a national crisis because the Tories have slashed billions from social care budgets. This is having a huge impact not just on social care, but on the NHS which is already stretched to capacity.”
“The Tories are forcing local councils and taxpayers to pay for their government’s failure to deliver a real solution to this funding crisis. We have been forced into a position where we simply cannot meet the needs of vulnerable older and disabled people without raising additional funds through council tax. But even this won’t be enough to plug the funding gap in social care and prevent the need for further cutbacks.”
“Southwark Labour is continuing to deliver our manifesto commitments despite deep and unfair government cuts, including new homes, jobs and apprenticeships and free swimming and gym for all residents. We have been clear that our priority is protecting our most vulnerable residents and we will continue to do all we can to protect services despite the ongoing Tory cuts.”