Care services facing financial black hole as elections loom
Council elections in May could lead to a £500 million black hole in adult social care budgets, according to new research by Incisive Health.
In December, the Government announced plans to give local authorities in England the power to raise council tax by up to 3% next year to help pay for adult social care services.
However, the extra money to pay for elderly care is dependent on local authorities being willing to increase council tax.
Analysis by Incisive Health, covered in today's Times, has found that more than one in five councils with the powers to implement the precept face local elections next year – including 13 swing councils that are currently under no overall control.
Campaigns to ‘freeze council tax’ have been a common feature of local election campaigns in recent years, as council candidates seek to put themselves on the side of hard-working families. 32 out of the 35 councils up for election this year chose to freeze or cut council tax when they were last up for election four years ago.
The councils facing elections in May include 17 Conservative councils, 13 with no overall control and four Labour.
Commenting on the analysis, Founding Partner Mike Birtwistle said:
“Letting councils raise extra money is one step removed from giving an actual cash boost. Local councillors with unpredictable local elections to manage will now have to decide whether they are prepared to face voters having raised taxes. Increasing the precept is the beginning of the tough political decisions, not the end of the financial crisis in elderly care."
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