Councils prepare to raise bills to pay for elderly care

Many Yorkshire councils are expected to announce plans to raise council tax bills to help meet the rising costs of adult social care
Many Yorkshire councils are expected to announce plans to raise council tax bills to help meet the rising costs of adult social care
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COUNCIL tax payers across Yorkshire will be told their bills are going to rise faster as town halls confront a crisis in care for the elderly.

Senior figures in authorities across the region have told The Yorkshire Post they expect a widespread take-up of new flexibility to raise council tax bills by an additional one per cent to help pay for social care costs.

Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe

Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe

Both Labour and Conservative councils have complained falling Government funding and rising demand as people live longer have left them facing a care crisis.

Councils could already raise bills by two per cent plus a further two per cent through the so-called social care precept.

Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid announced before Christmas councils will be allowed to raise the social care precept by three per cent this year and next.

Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe confirmed her authority is likely to take up the option.

we will not let up the pressure on Government to look at adult social care funding

Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe

She said: “We need to do our best for our elderly and vulnerable residents in the face of such severe Government funding cuts.

“Meanwhile we will not let up the pressure on Government to look at adult social care funding again. Local council taxpayers are already feeling the strain of the Government’s policy of austerity.”

Many other authorities are expected to follow suit in the coming weeks with one council leader saying they expected “virtually everyone” to take up the option.

But Yorkshire councils are complaining the Government’s approach will put them at a disadvantage as a one per cent rise in many parts of the region will raise far less than more affluent areas of the country.

Almost 40 per cent of Yorkshire councils’ spending in the current financial year is devoted to paying for elderly care.

Theresa May will come under further pressure to confront the crisis with the publication of a joint letter from three senior MPs calling for a cross-party agreement on the future of health and social care funding.

In their letter, Sarah Wollaston, Meg Hillier and Sheffield South-East MP Clive Betts - who chair the Commons health, public accounts and local government committees - tell the Prime Minister there needs to be a “political consensus in finding answers to the pressing social care challenges facing the country”.

The letter continues: “Given the scale of rising demand, this immense challenge will face whichever Party is in government over the coming decades.”

A Government spokeswoman said: “We recognise the pressures of an ageing population which is why we recently announced almost £900 million of additional funding for adult social care over the next two years. This Government has gone further to integrate health and social care than any other before it.”

She said the Government had established the Better Care Fund and increased spending on the NHS but the problem was “not solely about money” and it was looking to find a “long-term, sustainable solution”.