Camden to make big investment in health, care and wellbeing
Council Tax to rise 2.99% to secure funding for services
Much of the money raised from Camden Council Tax in 2022-2023 will be invested in protecting health and care services and helping people living with dementia, mental health issues and disabilities to live full and independent lives.
Camden Council’s Cabinet last night agreed to raise Council Tax by 2.99%, including the 1% levy that goes directly to funding adult social care costs. The proposed raise will now go before full Council on Monday 7 March for final approval.
As part of a package of measures to support residents the Council will make additional investments to help those most affected by the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In response to the cost-of-living crisis, the Council will double the cost-of-living support it provides to vulnerable residents from £1m to £2m and continue to invest 1.5million in ‘Good Work Camden’ which last year supported 500 people to find and stay in good work and has supported 31 residents to start their own business.
Further spending commitments for services paid for by Council Tax include:
- around £1million to ensure the needs of young people with learning disabilities are fully met when they move to adult services;
- an additional £400,000 per year to fund services to tackle domestic violence and abuse;
- new investment in digital services and cyber-security, to ensure “everyone in Camden can access and be part of a digital society”;
- developing a school led network of high technology learning venues across the borough to operate at the evenings, weekends and holidays to provide access to better learning opportunities.
“We are living in unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic is still impacting our communities, and I know that many people in Camden are also struggling financially from the rising cost of living.
“We spent £19million from our own revenues to cover the costs of our response to Covid-19 that weren’t covered by funding from Government. The need for support doesn’t end now either, as the pandemic has significantly increased demand for some key services including social care, public health and homelessness support and children’s services.”
The impact of ongoing austerity and rising cost and demographic pressures means that the Council is projecting a new budget deficit of between £35m and £40m by 2025/26.
Cllr Olszewski felt the Council has been left with “little choice” to increase rates due to a “huge” decrease in Government funding over the last decade – but vowed the Council would protect and support residents amid cost-of-living increases.
“To put it into perspective - In 2010 government funding was £1,123 per resident, whilst in 2022/23 like for like funding is estimated to be £367 per resident, representing a huge reduction of 67%.
“When the government confirmed our funding for this year, it was based on 40% of it coming from an increase in Council Tax rates. This means if we don’t raise Council Tax, we will lose out on funding that will help us to provide and protect the vital frontline services that we all need and use.
“But while we have little choice but to raise Council Tax, we are choosing to ensure we support our residents least able to pay. We are continuing our Council Tax Support to help our residents on low incomes –more than 16,300 households in Camden won’t need to pay any Council Tax at all. If you earn less than £497.25 per week, you may be eligible for a discount.
“If you are not eligible for Council Tax Support, we are here to help you. Whether you’re worried about paying your bills, debt or accessing food, need advice on housing or employment, or need support with mental health, please get in touch with us.”
Camden’s Cabinet have also agreed to major capital spending commitments on building and infrastructure, including:
investment to repair and upgrade cover highways and street lighting (£9million), schools and children’s centres (£6million), commercial and corporate property (£4.1million) and green spaces, play areas and public conveniences (£1.4million);
- a £2.26million contribution in sustainable capital investment to help achieve the goals of Camden’s Climate Action Plan and the Camden Transport Strategy, including projects to encourage greener travel and a major investment in tree planting. Over the past two years, Camden has trebled the length of Camden’s cycle lanes to 24km, delivered nearly 30 Healthy School Streets, introduced more than 100 new cycle hangars and increased the number of Electric Vehicle Charging Points to more than 330 across the borough;
- £3.6m to develop a new Supporting Living facility for people with learning disabilities;
- £2.7m for sports centres, including the construction of a new sports centre at King’s Cross and the refurbishment of the Cantelowes Sports Pavilion.
You can read the Cabinet paper on our website
To apply for Council Tax Support: Apply at www.camden.gov.uk/council-tax-support or call 020 7974 4444 (option 3 then option 2). For concerns regarding paying your bills, debt or accessing food, need advice on housing or employment, or need support with mental health, please do not be afraid to get in touch to find out how we can help. Call us on 020 7974 4444 (option 9) or visit www.camden.gov.uk/coronavirus
The recommended Council Tax increase of 2.99% is made up of:
- A rise of 1.99% in the 2021/22 core council tax level to support council funding at large, and;
- A rise of 1% from the levying of an Adult Social Care Precept to support the Council in its response to the unprecedented demographic and demand pressures facing adult social care.
This year’s budget is informed by focus on the following areas of investment:
- Helping communities recover from COVID and addressing the cost-of-living crisis
- Addressing health inequality and investing in prevention
- Tackling the climate crisis
- Deepening our approach to citizen participation and catalysing delivery of We Make Camden
On 3 February the Government announced that households in Council Tax banded properties A-D would receive a one-off ‘rebate’ of £150. Approximately 62,800 households in Camden are expected to be eligible for the £150 payment. This is approximately 56% of Camden households compared with the government’s estimate of 80% of households across the country. If you live in a Council Tax Band A to D property, visit www.camden.gov.uk/council-tax-energy-rebate to check your eligibility for a £150 one-off payment towards energy bills.