HOUSEHOLDS face being slapped with a council tax hike of up to £87 next year to help foot a £1.5 billion increase in social care spending.
Chancellor Sajid Javid announced the fresh money to plug a growing black hole in social care funding as part of his Spending Round yesterday.
But a third of the money – £500 million – will be paid for by ordinary families through a “stealth tax” hike of up to 5 per cent on their council tax bills next year.
The money comes on top of the existing £2.5 billion of social care grants.
COUNCIL TAX HIKE
Mr Javid has launched a consultation to decide whether to allow town halls to add an extra 2 per cent on council tax bills for 2020/21 to fund the additional £500 million social care money.
That would come on top of the 3 per cent that councils can add to bills each year without holding a referendum.
The 5 per cent ceiling would mean the average Band D council tax payer would be slapped with an extra £87 on their bills from April next year.
Councils have been allowed to add a 2 per cent ‘precept on to bills to fund social care for the last three years but the top-up charge was due to come to an end at the end of this financial year.
Mr Javid was accused of sneaking out the tax hike in the small print of his Spending Round after he omitted the details of the tax hike from his speech in the Commons yesterday.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell blasted: “It’s a stealth tax. They should have been more straightforward in how they announced they were going to fund social care.
“I think it will go down like a lead balloon with local authorities.”
SOCIAL CARE BOOST
Charities and town hall chiefs gave the extra cash a cautious welcome to the social care spending boost, which was more than expected but urged ministers to lay out its full blueprint for reforming social care as soon as possible.
Caroline Abrahams, head of the Age UK charity said: “On the face of it the extra money announced for social care in 2020/21 should help to keep our current care system tottering along for another year.
“However, the care system is in such bad shape that this new money, welcome as it is, will only buy some time for the next 12 months, it will not be sufficient to address the strategic challenges care faces, including sky high turnover among staff.
“For this we will have to wait for the Government’s care reform plan which the Chancellor promised we would see “in due course” today.
“For many millions of sick and disabled adults, older people in declining health and family carers, and for our many dedicated paid care workers too, this plan cannot come too soon.”
MOST READ IN POLITICS
James Jamieson, boss of the Local Government Association, said: “This is the biggest year-on-year real terms increase in spending power for local government in a decade and will allow councils to meet the rising cost and demand pressures they face in 2020/21,’ he said.
“The ability to levy an adult social care precept again next year helpfully gives them the potential to raise a further £500million to help people in our communities who need care and support.”
But the King’s fund dismissed the extra cash as like “putting a bit of extra fuel in the tank when the car urgently needs a full service”.
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at [email protected] or call 0207 782 4368 . You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.