Newcastle City council proposes to raise council tax by an extra three per cent to protect adult social care

Newcastle City council proposes budget plans to implement the government’s social care precept of an extra three per cent to fund adult social care.

The social care decree will be added on top of plans to raise council tax by 1.95 per cent resulting in a total of 4.95 per cent increase.

Local authorities cannot increase council tax by more than two per cent without holding a referendum for residents to vote on the changes. However the Government introduced the social care principle, which allows councils to add a separate tax bill of up to three per cent on top of the current tax. Therefore councils can increase council tax by a full five per cent without holding a referendum.

Councils are allowed to implement this extra bill if all funding received supports adult social care within the community. The social care precept will act as a different tax and appear as a separate item on the bill. The standard tax will continue to fund frontline services such as policing and fire fighting.

The increase of 4.95 per cent will equal to £1.37 per week for properties in band D and £0.91 for band A.

Social care costs are estimated to rise by £20.8million over the next three years with funding expected to rise by only £5.6million. The council has proposed the social care precept in hopes to fill this gap.

The budget plans included utilising the council’s stake in the city’s airport to spend a one-off £3.9million to support the building of more than 400 affordable new homes and specialist housing.

Last year the government announced that local authorities will be self-funding by the year 2020 and not receive grants from the government. To aid councils towards this financial change the government will supply almost £200billion nationwide over the next four years to provide adult social care. Authorities will rely on business rates, council tax and it’s own income thereafter.

Newcastle City council has reduced its workforce by a third and plan to make further redundancies next year.

The council states it needs to save £30million next year in 2017-2018 and £70million by the year 2020.

The authority published draft budget proposals for 2017 in October and held a consultation with more than 1,400 residents and organisations of the city.

The cabinet will meet on February 13th to consider the latest draft proposal titled ‘Newcastle 2020: Investing in a Fairer Future’ before a full council meeting and vote on Wednesday 1st March.

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