Published Thursday 28 January 2016 at 16:39
Statement from Councillor Andy Kay, Executive Member for Resources at Blackburn with Darwen Council, regarding the proposed increase in Council Tax from April 2016.
We are reluctantly having to propose raising Council Tax for the first time in five years because there has been a total change of direction in Government policy.
For five years the government encouraged councils to freeze the level of Council Tax by allowing the equivalent of a 1% rise to be included in their support. The chancellor is now encouraging local councils to increase the level of council tax by directly reducing the equivalent levels of government support.
This encouragement to councils, particularly in the north of England, to increase Council Tax by 1.99% and then an additional 2% for social care is to move the responsibility for funding adult social care onto local councils. It is simply not fair to the North of England. Councils in the South of England are already much better off than councils in the North. The health and social care of our elderly and vulnerable population is one of the most important duties of the council, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to cover the demands placed on us. The additional 2% for social care is shifting of the cost of this from central government on to local government and in the process forcing council tax payers to pick up the bill.
All this means that the average person in a council tax band “B” property will pay approximately 75p more a week for their Council services. Blackburn with Darwen’s Council Tax still remains low when compared to other similar Councils though of course any increase adds to the very real pressures people are already facing. Despite the national headlines of a better settlement for local councils, the reality is we are facing £48m shortfall over the next four years”.