Social Care Precept & Better Care Fund

Social Care Precept & Better Care FundAs a Financial Planner with a particular interest in later life advice, it was interesting to hear plans for a social care precept in the Autumn Statement.

This will give local authorities the power to raise council tax by an extra 2% to help fund the current shortfall in social care funding.

It could raise up to £2bn a year, which would be enough to fund 50,000 older people in residential care homes or 190,000 older people in their own homes.

Local authorities who used the social care precept would have to spend the money raised solely on adult social care.

The social care precept has already been criticised as a postcode lottery, with those local authorities with the most need for extra funding capable of raising the smallest levels.

It has also been branded a ‘smoke and mirrors trick’ to ‘shift the burden of paying for social care from central to local government’, by Newcastle City Council leader, Nick Forbes.

Free report reveals (2)

Before the social care precept was confirmed in the Autumn Statement and Spending Review, Ray James, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services called it ‘inadequate’.

He instead said the sector required cash to cover the living wage and £6bn in previously earmarked funding.

Despite raising some extra revenue, the social care precept was not the only announcement in the Autumn Statement regarding already stretched budgets for local authorities.

The local government central grant is to be cut by more than a half over the next four years.

It is being cut from £11.5bn this year to £5.4bn in 2019/20, a cut of 56%.

At the same time, self-financed expenditure for councils, which comes from revneue and business rates, is expected to grow by 13.1% by 2020, from £28.8bn to £35.1bn.

Local authorities are facing some serious funding pressures, especially when it comes to our ageing population and the cost of adult social care.

They are being encouraged to sell off some of their collective £225bn, with the new ability to retain 100% of any sale proceeds.

The Autumn Statement also contained an extra £1.5bn for the Better Care Fund, which is designed to more closely integrate social care and health care.

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About Martin Bamford

Martin Bamford is a Chartered Financial Planner, Certified Financial Planner (CFP) professional and published personal finance author. He works with elderly clients to provide advice on funding residential care fees, hosts the Informed Choice Podcast and is a keen ultra runner.
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