Council tax expected to rise even further next year to cover social care

Council tax bills in Norfolk could rise again. Pic: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Council tax bills in Norfolk could rise again. Pic: Joe Giddens/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Council tax increases for adult social care are likely to be even higher next year, a committee has heard. 

Norfolk county councillors raised concerns about funding for adult social care during a scrutiny committee meeting on Wednesday.

Alongside council tax, the government allows councils to set a ring-fenced precept of up to 3pc for adult social care - covering the cost of residential care homes and helping those with physical or mental disabilities. 

In its draft budget, Norfolk County Council has set a 2pc precept increase 2021/22

County Hall in Norwich

Norfolk County Council is expect to increase council tax by 3.99pc - a 1.99pc general rise and a 2pc rise ringfenced for adult social care. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Labour councillor, Chris Jones, queried whether the council was making a mistake in not raising it to the full amount. 

Mr Jones said: "I think we would all accept that the £4m [extra raised by increasing the precept to 3pc] could be put to good use by adult social care this year. 

"I think we've all argued, across the political parties, that adult social care is, in general, underfunded. 

"Doesn't it undermined that if we're then offered the chance to raise to 3pc - aren't we shooting ourselves in the foot if we don't take it?" 

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Councillor Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance, said in consultation the public had supported a 2pc increase but fewer people supported 3pc. 

He said: "I'm sure could find ways of spending £4m this year but part of our job I think is to look over the medium term." 

Bill Borrett, cabinet member for adult social care, agreed, adding: “This isn't a one-year solution where we throw a sticking plaster at it and then walk away and come back the following year." 

Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance at Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance at Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

Mr Borrett accepted Mr Jones raised an important point but believed they were still making it clear more funding is needed through plans for further increases next year. 

He said: "I think that this budget talks about our ambition to raise that extra 1pc next year means we can still have that conversation with the minister because it is part of our medium-term budget." 

Mr Jamieson added the council had a "robust budget" in place and they did not wish to make things more difficult for the people of Norfolk suffering through a pandemic. 

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