Green councillors are calling on the Council to protect adult social care, which provides vital services for elderly people, those with disabilities and other vulnerable adults. At next month’s budget meeting, Greens will be proposing a 2% increase in council tax to protect these vital services.
Councillor Ani Stafford-Townsend, leader of Bristol Green Party councillors said:
“By 2020 the Tory Government will have cut the funding local authorities receive by 75%. This is leading to the decimation of many social services. Whether we use these services ourselves, or have parents or grandparents who rely on them, Greens believe no-one wants a society where we leave our elderly, disabled and vulnerable citizens uncared for in their homes.”
The Green amendment to the Mayor’s budget calls for the Council to take the government’s offer of a 2% increase in council tax to partially cover the shortfall in adult social care. This adult and social care precept will raise £3.5m in 2016/17.
Councillor Stephen Clarke, who sits on the Business Change and Resources Scrutiny Commission said:
“The government’s offer demonstrates that even the Tories have some awareness of the devastating impact these cuts are having, but they are unfairly shifting the responsibility onto local governments. We are disappointed that the Mayor has chosen to avoid this difficult decision, which could have a severe impact on people in Bristol. Greens will call on all other parties to support the protection of these services at the budget council meeting on 16th February.”
The social care precept would raise council tax by 2%. For those in Council Tax Band B, the most common band in Bristol, this would mean an increase of 42p per week.
Tony Dyer, Green Party Mayoral candidate said:
"I would not normally be in favour of raising council tax again as council tax is not the fairest method of taxation, but restrictive government policy has left Bristol with little option if we are to protect vital social care services. To help those who struggle to pay their council tax, Greens are campaigning to protect Bristol's Council Tax Reduction Scheme. It is vital that this scheme, which supports those on low incomes, is maintained beyond 2017. I am calling on all the Mayoral candidates to make it a commitment in their election manifestos to protect Bristol's Council Tax Reduction Scheme."
Adult social care precept - the government spending review announced that upper tier councils would be able to collect a 2% precept to help fund adult social care, which is facing budget pressure in councils across the country. This gives councils the power to raise additional funds by increasing council tax by up to 2% in addition to any normal council tax rises. If adopted in Bristol, this additional 2% precept would raise £3.5m to be spent on adult social care over 2016/17. At present, the Mayor’s budget proposals have not taken up the government’s 2% precept offer. Current projections predict that the council will be £6.3m over budget for social care over 2015/16. More information can be found in the budget report being tabled at cabinet on Tuesday 12th January: https://www2.bristol.gov.uk/committee/2016/ua/ua000/0112_5.pdf (pdf).