Social care is certainly receiving more and more press coverage of late and politicians in Westminster appear to have started to listen to colleagues in Local Government. It reached the lofty heights of PMQ's and further funding ( or should I say the option has been allowed for democratically elected councils to be able to use their own tax raising powers to address an issue for which they are held accountable for by Government via the Care Quality System and of course by their own electorates) looks likely to be available. The Government's funding choice seems bizarre. Council tax is both diminished in terms of its support of council spending, has been pared back in recent years by Government incentives not to increase it and bears no correlation in any Council area with demand for services. Its a bit like funding your summer holiday abroad by telling your kids that if they want to come with you they need to pay for it out of their pocket money. This story is not going away.
On Monday social care funding, or rather the lack of it, dominated the news agenda, leading bulletins from dawn until dusk in a fairly unprecedented turn of events. The nation’s political correspondents talked council tax and precepts as they reported the government was planning to expand councils’ freedom to raise extra funds for social care, an idea LGC revealed was under serious consideration back in November. Today more detail has emerged but despite the profile of the issue it appears ministers are opting to do the bare minimum. Instead of a 2% social care precept in each of the three remaining years of the parliament, councils will now be able to increase council tax by an additional 3% above the 2% referendum limit in each of the next two years