Poorest are paying for social care

January 17, 2017 12:32 PM
Putting up council tax is not the answer to the social care funding gap says a leading Liberal Democrat.
This year's 2 per cent increase brought in about £360 nationally and still leaves a predicted gap of £2.6 million by 2020, according to Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson CBE, who leads the Liberal Democrat Group on the Local Government Association. This suggests council tax would need to increase by 14% to deal with this problem, ignoring any other inflationary issues faced by any provide of services. Which will never happen.
If council tax were a fair tax, this might be acceptable. But it is not. People who own a small terrace house in Newcastle already pay as much as the owner of a mansion flat in Westminster or Kensington because of the way that the system works. Poor people pay a much higher proportion of their income in council tax than rich people.
In places like Newcastle, the needs of the extremely poor will be paid by the very poor if council tax is the route for dealing with this need.
Raiding the New Homes Bonus as has been suggested, like a Tory version of Indiana Jones, is not the answer either. The decrease of £241 million will hit districts hard, and it is nothing better than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic as the ship of social care sinks.
This recycling of money is yet another example of the Government having no idea of how to tackle the tsunami of issues arising from our increased longevity.