Social care and council tax

This week, the Surrey Mirror asked for opinions on the question: ‘A percentage of the council tax increase has been ear-marked for Social Care, is it enough?’ This is my response.

It’s not enough and it’s the wrong approach.

The government used to directly fund social care, but in recent years it has pushed the costs onto local councils, and then reduced their funding. That’s why we’ve had big council tax rises, including an extra 6% in the past three years in Surrey for social care.

Over the six years till 2016/17 central government funding to councils fell around 45%. In Surrey this has been partly made up by council tax increases, but still has left the County Council with around 15% less money.

Spending on adult and children’s social care in Surrey has not kept up with increasing demand as people are living longer and more children have care needs. Meanwhile all other Surrey County Council services were cut by around 20% in real terms in the six years to 2017.

Insufficient care will reduce the quality of life for many of our most vulnerable young, disabled and older people.

If our Conservative government cared it would provide sufficient money so councils can provide the care services needed. Instead it’s giving tax cuts to big businesses. In the last two years Surrey has halved its youth work, closed two thirds of its children centres and reduced disabled people’s independence by preventing them from using their bus passes before 9.30am.

We need to restore spending levels so prevention – better health, social care and the environment – gives us a better quality of life in the future.

Restoring government funding for care would also help other local services to be improved. We must protect the services which look after children, support families, care for older and disabled people, and prevent homelessness, as well as reversing the huge cuts to environmental initiatives and alleviating pressures on other parts of the public sector.

 

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One Comment

  1. Colin hoffman
    Posted Thursday, 25 April 2019 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    True. The council tax is also an unfair regressive tax that needs updating
    Why not charge more for people with kids to redress the unfairness
    Surrey council is a nasty Tory organisation and the council tax rises probably ensure council workers get gilt plates lovely pensions

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