‘Increase council tax to boost social care’

First published in Countywide Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by

GREEN councillors have called for a county-wide vote on a 3.75 per cent rise in council tax to fund social care services.

Larry Sanders, one of two Green Party county councillors, has launched a campaign to reduce £18.5m of proposed cuts to the council’s social care budget by increasing council tax.

The authority announced plans to cut the cash from its social care funds by 2017 last month, after its central Government grant was slashed by 12 per cent.

As part of the draft budget, which is expected to be approved next month by the Tory-controlled council, a council tax rise of 1.99 per cent is proposed.

The rise is just shy of the two per cent referendum limit set by the Government, but Mr Sanders said people in Oxfordshire should be given the opportunity to vote on a bigger hike.

He said: “The Conservative county council budget will make life even harder for people with disabilities.

“A small increase in the council tax of about 40p a week for the average household – less than the price of a stamp – used sensibly could bring in tens of millions of pounds of care money for Oxfordshire residents.

“Given the stark facts about the impact of more budget cuts, we believe the basic decency and good sense of the people of Oxfordshire will win out and allow councillors to provide the money necessary to reduce the crisis in care.”

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The council’s adult social care budget pays for essentials like home care as well as day centres and other services aimed at reducing isolation.

Currently the county council’s share of the council tax payment for band D properties is £1,161.94. Under the Tories’ proposals, this will rise to £1,184.94. A 3.75 per cent rise would take the figure up to £1,205.27.

County council cabinet member for adult services Arash Fatemian said: “The savings in social care are about reducing the cost of care rather than the quality of the care that’s being delivered and a lot of that comes about through intervention and prevention, which saves money in the long-term.

“I don’t think there is wide enough support for a referendum on a 3.75 per cent rise in council tax. A referendum would cost the county council money and I’m not aware that anybody has ever voted in a referendum for a tax increase.”

Under Government rules, any council tax increase above two per cent will automatically trigger a referendum on the rise.

The full council is due to meet to vote on the budget, which includes a total of £46m of extra cuts on top of £119m which will already have been saved by 2014.

BREAKDOWN ON SAVINGS

  • The council expects to save £3m by carrying out prevention and intervention work – such as installing technology in people’s homes to reduce their need for costly care.
  • It will also save £500,000 by changing
  • the way it commissions care services.
  • Joint working with the NHS will save £1m, andit will receive extra funding of £4.3m for health services.
  • The council will change the way it delivers services to people with learning and physical disabilities, saving £2.4m.
  • Income expected from increased charges for day centres, added to proposed savings to the service in the future, will amount to £500,000.
  • Extra pressures on the council’s budget for older people will be paid for out of the existing budget, saving £3.9m the council would otherwise have to save.
  • Other savings, including a reduction in the council’s asylum seeker budget because of decreased need, will total £2.853m.

Comments (10)

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11:05am Mon 28 Jan 13

EMBOX2 says...

I support the principle of extra funds for social care, who wouldn't, but it must not come from a raise in the already extortionate council tax.

Greens should be ashamed of themselves for suggesting this idea. It does go to show the Greens economic credentials are non-existent.

What should happen, is that bureaucracy be cut - and that means less councillors, less councils, and less people duplicating work a few miles up the road. Merge SODC and VHWDC, Cherwell and WODC, or better, axe them all and have ONE council for the entire county.

Hey presto, £141 million a year saved, and no-one will know any different.
I support the principle of extra funds for social care, who wouldn't, but it must not come from a raise in the already extortionate council tax. Greens should be ashamed of themselves for suggesting this idea. It does go to show the Greens economic credentials are non-existent. What should happen, is that bureaucracy be cut - and that means less councillors, less councils, and less people duplicating work a few miles up the road. Merge SODC and VHWDC, Cherwell and WODC, or better, axe them all and have ONE council for the entire county. Hey presto, £141 million a year saved, and no-one will know any different. EMBOX2
  • Score: 0

11:10am Mon 28 Jan 13

Sandy Wimpole-Smythe says...

As a country we can afford a £32 billion train track but we can't look after people when they need it ! Someone has their priorities wrong.
As a country we can afford a £32 billion train track but we can't look after people when they need it ! Someone has their priorities wrong. Sandy Wimpole-Smythe
  • Score: 0

11:18am Mon 28 Jan 13

Myron Blatz says...

Here's another option to boosting funding for better social care provision in Oxford: reduce the number of City Councillors to just ONE per Ward, using the saving on Allowances, Expenses and 'slush fund' monies which Labour created when it did away with Area Committees, to fund things which Voters, Council Tax Payers and the people who live in Oxford - not tourists or the transient student population - actually need.
Here's another option to boosting funding for better social care provision in Oxford: reduce the number of City Councillors to just ONE per Ward, using the saving on Allowances, Expenses and 'slush fund' monies which Labour created when it did away with Area Committees, to fund things which Voters, Council Tax Payers and the people who live in Oxford - not tourists or the transient student population - actually need. Myron Blatz
  • Score: 0

1:06pm Mon 28 Jan 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

I suspect people often forget that the council tax bill they are presented with is only the minimum you are required to pay for local services.

There is absolutely nothing to stop individuals, whether they be "greens" or "normal" from voluntarily paying more to fund their local services.

Simply send a cheque to the local council and specify that it is a voluntary contribution for the improvement of local services..

At the last local election 6700 out of 32700 people voted Green or 20% of the total. If 20% of the 112K electorate in Oxford were prepared to voluntarily pay just £0.40 a week towards improved services that would raise over £450K per year.

If the Greens were to create an Oxford Charity especially for their members local philanthropy they'd be able to claim back around 20% tax on average increasing the overall pot by around£90K!

£540K private budget for councillors to spend for the benefit of Oxford as a whole...
I suspect people often forget that the council tax bill they are presented with is only the minimum you are required to pay for local services. There is absolutely nothing to stop individuals, whether they be "greens" or "normal" from voluntarily paying more to fund their local services. Simply send a cheque to the local council and specify that it is a voluntary contribution for the improvement of local services.. At the last local election 6700 out of 32700 people voted Green or 20% of the total. If 20% of the 112K electorate in Oxford were prepared to voluntarily pay just £0.40 a week towards improved services that would raise over £450K per year. If the Greens were to create an Oxford Charity especially for their members local philanthropy they'd be able to claim back around 20% tax on average increasing the overall pot by around£90K! £540K private budget for councillors to spend for the benefit of Oxford as a whole... Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

3:53pm Mon 28 Jan 13

Sid Hunt says...

“A small increase in the council tax of about 40p a week for the average household – less than the price of a stamp – used sensibly could bring in tens of millions of pounds of care money for Oxfordshire residents. "

"Tens of millions of pounds" seems incredibly fantastic - as does "used sensibly".
“A small increase in the council tax of about 40p a week for the average household – less than the price of a stamp – used sensibly could bring in tens of millions of pounds of care money for Oxfordshire residents. " "Tens of millions of pounds" seems incredibly fantastic - as does "used sensibly". Sid Hunt
  • Score: 0

4:11pm Mon 28 Jan 13

Grunden Skip says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
I suspect people often forget that the council tax bill they are presented with is only the minimum you are required to pay for local services.

There is absolutely nothing to stop individuals, whether they be "greens" or "normal" from voluntarily paying more to fund their local services.

Simply send a cheque to the local council and specify that it is a voluntary contribution for the improvement of local services..

At the last local election 6700 out of 32700 people voted Green or 20% of the total. If 20% of the 112K electorate in Oxford were prepared to voluntarily pay just £0.40 a week towards improved services that would raise over £450K per year.

If the Greens were to create an Oxford Charity especially for their members local philanthropy they'd be able to claim back around 20% tax on average increasing the overall pot by around£90K!

£540K private budget for councillors to spend for the benefit of Oxford as a whole...
Very good proposition Andrew. It would be very interesting just how many of the Greenies supporters would give their money and show their true belief and support for the party, rather than just sticking an X in a box every few years. I would think very few, seeing as the greenies always advocate spending our money, knowing that they will never be in a position to answer for it.
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: I suspect people often forget that the council tax bill they are presented with is only the minimum you are required to pay for local services. There is absolutely nothing to stop individuals, whether they be "greens" or "normal" from voluntarily paying more to fund their local services. Simply send a cheque to the local council and specify that it is a voluntary contribution for the improvement of local services.. At the last local election 6700 out of 32700 people voted Green or 20% of the total. If 20% of the 112K electorate in Oxford were prepared to voluntarily pay just £0.40 a week towards improved services that would raise over £450K per year. If the Greens were to create an Oxford Charity especially for their members local philanthropy they'd be able to claim back around 20% tax on average increasing the overall pot by around£90K! £540K private budget for councillors to spend for the benefit of Oxford as a whole...[/p][/quote]Very good proposition Andrew. It would be very interesting just how many of the Greenies supporters would give their money and show their true belief and support for the party, rather than just sticking an X in a box every few years. I would think very few, seeing as the greenies always advocate spending our money, knowing that they will never be in a position to answer for it. Grunden Skip
  • Score: 0

7:19pm Mon 28 Jan 13

Englishman says...

Perhaps if we didn't give £20 million to Syria we could use that and if we cut aid to every other Tom, Dick and Harry we could solve the problem. Lets hope the 100,000 jobs the HS2 will supposedly create are given to those on our dole queues and benefits first and not Eastern Europeans. What a step that would be instantly saving millions in benefits, cutting crime by giving youngsters a purpose instead of as they do around here just stand drinking, smoking and spitting all day and night waiting for the next handout.
Perhaps if we didn't give £20 million to Syria we could use that and if we cut aid to every other Tom, Dick and Harry we could solve the problem. Lets hope the 100,000 jobs the HS2 will supposedly create are given to those on our dole queues and benefits first and not Eastern Europeans. What a step that would be instantly saving millions in benefits, cutting crime by giving youngsters a purpose instead of as they do around here just stand drinking, smoking and spitting all day and night waiting for the next handout. Englishman
  • Score: 0

6:14pm Tue 29 Jan 13

xjohnx says...

The more money raised by taxation, the more money gets wasted by the council.

Discuss.
The more money raised by taxation, the more money gets wasted by the council. Discuss. xjohnx
  • Score: 0

6:07pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Grunden Skip says...

xjohnx wrote:
The more money raised by taxation, the more money gets wasted by the council.

Discuss.
Correct.
[quote][p][bold]xjohnx[/bold] wrote: The more money raised by taxation, the more money gets wasted by the council. Discuss.[/p][/quote]Correct. Grunden Skip
  • Score: 0

6:09pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Grunden Skip says...

Englishman wrote:
Perhaps if we didn't give £20 million to Syria we could use that and if we cut aid to every other Tom, Dick and Harry we could solve the problem. Lets hope the 100,000 jobs the HS2 will supposedly create are given to those on our dole queues and benefits first and not Eastern Europeans. What a step that would be instantly saving millions in benefits, cutting crime by giving youngsters a purpose instead of as they do around here just stand drinking, smoking and spitting all day and night waiting for the next handout.
Don't be silly, HS2 has been timed to coincide with the influx of cheap labour from Romania that is going to hit us like a Tsunami.
[quote][p][bold]Englishman[/bold] wrote: Perhaps if we didn't give £20 million to Syria we could use that and if we cut aid to every other Tom, Dick and Harry we could solve the problem. Lets hope the 100,000 jobs the HS2 will supposedly create are given to those on our dole queues and benefits first and not Eastern Europeans. What a step that would be instantly saving millions in benefits, cutting crime by giving youngsters a purpose instead of as they do around here just stand drinking, smoking and spitting all day and night waiting for the next handout.[/p][/quote]Don't be silly, HS2 has been timed to coincide with the influx of cheap labour from Romania that is going to hit us like a Tsunami. Grunden Skip
  • Score: 0

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