Council tax cap will rise to 5.99 per cent to tackle social care funding crisis

The Civic Offices in the Guildhall Square, Portsmouth. Credit: Malcolm Wells
The Civic Offices in the Guildhall Square, Portsmouth. Credit: Malcolm Wells
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COUNCIL tax could rise by up to 5.99 per cent after a government-imposed cap was relaxed to help fund social care.

In his provisional local government funding settlement for 2018/19, communities secretary Sajid Javid announced the threshold for triggering an automatic local referendum was being increased from two per cent to three per cent of core council tax.

Coupled with the three per cent additional ‘precept’ permitted to authorities with social care responsibilities, this gives councils freedom to hike bills by up to 5.99 per cent next April without seeking voters’ approval

Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones said it is too early to say what if any increase the authority would impose.

But she said: ‘I think it is a step in the right direction that councils are given this flexibility, if of course authorities take into consideration residents’ views. Increases should not be made without consulting local people.

‘But whether or not we will take advantage of this rise, it is too early to say.’

Some social care leaders have branded the cap rise ‘woefully inadequate’ and the Local Government Association (LGA) said it would raise just £250 million a year towards a town hall funding gap expected to reach £5.8 billion by 2020.

Mr Javid told the House of Commons the move would give local authorities ‘the independence they need to help relieve pressure on local services’ while ‘recognising the need to keep spending under control’.