A third of LAs will have no social care precept left in 2019/20, Care England warns

Professor Martin Green.

A third of local authorities (LAs) will have exhausted their social care precept budgets by 2019/20, Care England has warned.

The representative body said 56 LAs would be unable to raise much needed social funds through the precept.

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, said: “These local authorities have exhausted their social care precept flexibility over the course of the last two years and with budgets being tightened it is hard to envisage where the necessary extra funds will come from in 2019/20.

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“Care England has long called for the ability to plan for the long term in order to have some stability in the sector both in terms of providers investing in services, but crucially for those in receipt of services having certainty over the services that they require remaining in place.”

The precept, which was first introduced for in 2016/17, gave LAs the option of raising an additional 2% in council tax specifically for adult social care.

The scheme was updated in 2017 to allow councils to raise the precept by a total of 6% between 2017/18 and 2019/20. Councils exceeding this amount are required to call for a local referendum.

Martin added: “Whilst it is commendable that councils have used the full flexibility of the adult social care precept to meet pressures, the outlook for 2019/20 looks very bleak and the government needs to step-in urgently to avert care home closures as providers struggle with rising costs and low fees paid by councils.”

Care England expressed its concerns last month after Hammersmith & Fulham and Hillingdon councils failed to take up the social care precept (see Care England concerned by failure to take up social care precept).

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