Warnings of reduced council services despite tax rises
20 February 2017
Funding gaps for a number of council-run services are being predicted by the Local Government Association (LGA) despite nationwide council tax increases.
Although the government claims to be giving more money to councils, the LGA says care costs for elderly people is placing more strain on the system.
Councils are allowed to raise tax by up to 1.99% without conducting a local referendum.
A further 3% can be added by the 151 social care authorities for the provision of social care services.
According to the BBC, 147 of these will raise the extra money and 75% will introduce the maximum 3% raise.
The LGA says cuts will still be needed as council funds will continue to be stretched to the limit.
Warwickshire County Council chief Izzi Seccombe was quoted by the BBC as saying cuts will be required to roads, highways, bus services, leisure centres, waste services and others.
This is due to reductions in central government grants following the decision to devolve spending from Whitehall in 2015.
These will be phased out by 2020 and the government has offered four-year settlement plans to help councils prepare for the funding to cease.
Councils have been advised to adopt models where council tax and business rates are collected locally to pay for services.
The main issue highlighted by the LGA is the £16bn spent last year on services for the elderly and disabled people.
Parliament has reduced this funding by a third and the LGA has said there will be a £2.6bn funding gap by 2020.
The government claims to have increased social care funding by £900m, however, and councils will have access to £7.6bn over the next four years.