Families face £100-plus council tax jump to pay for social care crisis

Families face a £100-plus jump in council tax to pay for social care crisis

  • Council tax bills are set to rise by five per cent in more than half of counties
  • Planned increase puts more pressure on some households already furloughed 
  • Extra pressure on bank accounts comes as Boris Johnson fails to fix social care 

Struggling families face council tax increases of more than £100 because of Boris Johnson’s failure to fix social care.

More than half of English counties and unitary authorities are planning to increase their council tax bills by the maximum 5 per cent – seven times the rate of inflation – in April.

The largest rises in years will place huge pressure on household finances at a time when millions will still be on furlough wages. 

Critics say it is wrong of Mr Johnson to force councils to put up tax to pay for social care when he has failed to come up with a plan to fix the crisis.

More than half of English counties and unitary authorities are planning to increase their council tax bills by the maximum 5 per cent (stock image)

With town halls deciding how much to put up their bills by, so far the most costly proposal is from Bristol council. 

Councillors want tax to rise by the maximum 5 per cent, increasing bills by £87.74 for the average Band D household.

Residents also face an extra £15 on top from the Avon and Somerset police and crime commissioner – taking the total to more than £100.

Tax burden is at highest since 1951 

 The tax burden is at a 70-year high and is set to climb even higher as Chancellor Rishi Sunak ponders more grabs in next month’s Budget.

The Treasury is set to rake in 34.2 per cent of economic output in the next financial year, according to campaign group the TaxPayers’ Alliance. 

The average tax burden – the amount of tax taken by the Treasury compared with the size of the economy – over the last five years has already climbed to 33.8 per cent, the highest since 1951.

 The Chancellor is understood to be considering a rise in capital gains tax as he tries to reduce the huge debt accrued counteracting the corona-virus pandemic.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘The sustained tax burden is now the highest it’s been since the country was recovering from the Second World War.’ 

Those in Bristol’s most expensive Band H homes will pay double – meaning their bills will increase by more than £200 in just one year.

According to the Local Government Chronicle, 53 per cent of councils have so far proposed putting up their bills by the maximum. 

These include Band D increases of £84.60 in Dorset, £75.05 in Cheshire East and, £75.60 in Wiltshire. 

The final demands will be higher as the local police and fire authorities add their precepts, together with district and parish councils.

In England, town halls can increase bills by 2 per cent without holding a local referendum, and an extra 3 per cent for social care. 

In parts of Wales there are even higher increases in the offing because there is no maximum. 

Wrexham, for example, has proposed a 7 per cent rise – increasing Band D bills by £85.

Harry Fone, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘Taxpayers are fed up with year-after-year of rate rises.

‘Local authorities should stop pleading poverty and focus on eradicating wasteful spending rather than hammering households with inflation-busting tax hikes.’

 A Bristol council spokesman said: ‘We are proposing a budget that does not introduce new cuts and balances the books despite the financial challenge of Covid and the increasing demand on services.

‘In the absence of a national strategy or national funding to fix a care system whose demands and costs are growing, we have no option but to continue applying the Adult Social Care precept.’

Mr Johnson promised a solution to England’s social care crisis from the steps of No 10 on his first day in office.

But no plans have yet come to light – and may not do so before the end of the year – leaving local authorities no option but to charge residents more to fund elderly care.

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