More cash to support Devon’s elderly and vulnerable adults

Posted on: 6 January 2016

Devon County Council is set to accept the Government ‘s offer to increase council tax by two per cent to help pay for adult social care.

The increase would raise just under £6.5 million extra this year.

That would help pay for the Government’s increase in the minimum wage which will cost the county council over £7 million more in care costs.

The two per cent council tax increase will be on top of any rise in the rate for general services which will be decided at the annual budget meeting next month.

The Government has set a ceiling of 1.99 per cent for general council tax before a referendum has to be held.

County Treasurer Mary Davis will tell next Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting:

“It is estimated that in 2016/17, the council will raise just under £6.5 million from a two per cent rise in the precept.

“Next year the cost of the national Living Wage will be over £7 million.

“The majority of this cost relates to those who care for vulnerable adults.

“An increase in the precept will help the council deal with the funding pressures linked to an ageing population.”

Cllr John HartCouncil leader John Hart said:

“This has been a difficult decision to take.

“We are well aware that many people in Devon are living on fixed incomes or low wages and any increase in their living costs is unwelcome.

“But the rise in the minimum wage will boost incomes – especially for many of our care staff who do an absolutely vital job looking after our elderly and vulnerable adults.

“George Osborne offered all upper tier councils the opportunity to earmark an increase in council tax especially for adult care in his autumn statement last year.

“At the same time our Government grant was reduced again and without taking advantage of this offer, we would have to make even more severe cuts than we will be considering in the budget next month.”

Mrs Davis’s report to Cabinet confirms that the Government’s grant to Devon will reduce from £179.8 million in 2015/16 to £151.6 million in 2016/17.

“This is a reduction of £28.2 million, nearly 15.7 per cent,” she will tell councillors.

“This is slightly higher than the average reduction for county councils which is 14.6 per cent.

“The reductions to grant funding are greater than even the most pessimistic would have anticipated.”

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