Camden Council’s Cabinet “given no choice” but to propose increase in council tax
Camden Council’s Cabinet last night (Wednesday December 14) proposed a 3.99% increase in council tax, which will be considered by Full Council in February.
Councillor Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council, said:“By 2018/19 government cuts mean that the Council’s like for like funding will have been more than halved compared to 2010 levels. We’ve adopted new approaches to technology and managed our finances well so we can continue to deliver quality services. But we still face huge funding pressures, particularly in social care.
“The Government’s notion that a capped rise in council tax is going to fix a system that the LGA estimates is currently underfunded by £1.3 billion, and heading towards £2.6 billion, is as astonishing as it is saddening.
“Camden Council’s Cabinet is left with no option but to propose a council tax increase to the capped levels in order to ensure there is the maximum funding available to us locally to provide adult social care services. It’s clear that if we don’t do that, then the Government has left us in a position where there will be significant human cost.
“Frankly, this is a like using a plaster to patch up a patient after heart surgery. Increasing tax is a short-term fix for a system that’s at breaking point - it is not the long-term solution. Nationally this year’s 2% precept that councils were able to raise was largely eaten up just paying the Living Wage increase alone.
“It’s apparent that the Government aren’t willing to sufficiently fund the social care sector, so we’re given no choice but to not only recommend an increase in council tax, but also to find further solutions to deliver long-term savings so that we continue to provide care to those who need it. This is why Cabinet have agreed proposals to further transform our related services, to deliver both savings and innovation.
“With the impacts of NHS funding cuts and the North Central London Sustainability and Transformation Plan likely to push further costs and pressure onto community based adult social care services in the coming years we have to act now.”
Cabinet last night agreed to the Council’s proposed approach to developing a new adult social care strategy for older people and disabled people in Camden, including a revised savings and investment programme. It also agreed with plans to change how the Council commissions activities and services for these residents during the day, moving to a more neighbourhood based network of support across Council and voluntary sector organisations.
Cabinet agreed on plans to consult on revisions to the current contributions policy to make sure it is fair and in line with the Care Act 2014.. It also approved plans to consult on the development of two specialist centres in the borough - one at Kingsgate resource centre, specialising in services for older people and one at the new Greenwood centre, specialising in services for people with learning disabilities and people with mental ill-health.
These consultations will run in parallel, starting in January, with residents urged to have their say.