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Proposal to freeze core council tax and protect the vulnerable

Wed 08 Feb 2017
Ealing Council’s cabinet will next week consider proposals to keep its portion of council tax bills frozen for the ninth year running. But ongoing cuts to its funding mean that, for the first time, the council expects to pass on the government’s 2% social care levy to residents.

The 2% precept would go directly towards social care costs to support the borough’s most vulnerable people. It would pay for services such as home care for older and disabled residents, dementia support services and protecting people from abuse.

A 2% increase in the council tax band D charge is £21.20 per year and which would generate £2.3million.

If councillors do decide to pass on the social care precept it would not generate enough funding to meet the rising demand for these services. This is why the council has had to allocate an additional £13million in 2017/18 to manage the growth in demand for adult social care. This is five and a half times more money than the social care precept.

The council has frozen council tax rates for the previous eight years through careful financial management; acting decisively to make savings; working to boost the local economy and encouraging investment in the area, including much needed new homes. This has generated millions of pounds in additional funds through business rates and council tax payments.

Council leader, Councillor Julian Bell, said: “We’ve continued to freeze council tax for as long as possible because we understand the financial pressures our residents face, especially the lowest paid."

“We have avoided putting up council tax, which many other boroughs have had to do, and have been investing substantially in social care.”

“We remain committed to freezing core council tax for as long as possible.”

Reductions to its main government grant, increased demand for services and rising costs have meant that the council has needed to identify £168million worth of savings since 2010, approximately 80% have already been achieved, and the remainder will all have to be delivered by 2020.

The council expects its main government grant to reduce by a further £24.9million in the next four years.

Councillor Yvonne Johnson, cabinet member for finance, performance and customer services, said: “Social care is in crisis across the country and we need a national funding solution. Instead, the burden has been laid at the feet of local authorities as the government cuts funding and assumes we’ll pick up the tab.”

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