District councils are arguing they should be given powers to raise their own social care precept
Allowing district councils to raise an additional 2%, as top-tier councils can for funding social care services, would generate an extra £25m.
The money could be used to help prevent people from needing to access acute health and social care services, the District Councils’ Network said.
Districts argue for powers to raise own social care precept
DCN’s chair John Fuller (Con) said it was “unfair” that “metropolitan and unitary councils can raise proportionately more than those councils covering shire district areas”.
He added: “We must also bust the myth that district councils do not have an integral role in social care. The current council tax increase mechanism fails to recognise our ‘prevention is better than cure’ approach to reduce demand on social care and the NHS by both preventing people needing to access these services as well as getting people out of hospital and living in their homes and communities more quickly.”
Currently, district councils can increase council tax by up to 3% or by £5 per Band D property per year, depending on whichever is the greater. As things stand, there are 88 district councils that can raise council tax by up to £5 rather than 3% due to their low council tax base.
In the provisional finance settlement the general council tax referendum threshold was raised from 2% to 3%. However, the £5 figure stayed the same and the DCN has argued it too should be increased to £7.50.
Doing that would generate an extra £9m, DCN said.
Cllr Fuller said: “Allowing those districts to increase council tax by the greater of 3% or £7.50 would ensure the ‘cash alternative’ provides meaningful headroom to continue to deliver public services which are vital to local residents.”
The proposals have been submitted in response to the local government finance settlement.