Barnet Council last night (7th March) approved a social care precept* of 3 per cent to Council Tax bills which will be spent exclusively to provide support and care to elderly and vulnerable residents. There will be no increase in Council Tax to fund general services.
Barnet has the largest population of any London borough and is home to a high number of older people, many of whom require care. Following consultation the precept will be applied to Council Tax bills and will generate an additional £4.6 million per year, adding £2.80 per month for a band D property in 2017/18.
Last night’s full council also approved plans to fill its total budget gap of £53.8 million until 2020 as pressure on services continues and income from central Government decreases.
Leader of the Council, Councillor Richard Cornelius, said: “Applying the social care precept is not a decision we have taken lightly, but given the contribution many of our older residents have made over their lifetimes it is the right thing for us to do.
“I am proud there has been no overall increase in residents’ Council Tax bills for each of the past six years. This means our residents have seen a 16 per cent real terms reduction in Council Tax since 2010/11.
“Despite the continuing budget pressures we are under we have successfully saved £112 million on our budget for delivering day to day services over the last five years and kept levels of resident satisfaction high.”
The council also approved plans to invest £834 million by 2020 in housing, infrastructure and community facilities drawing on the proceeds from development. The investment includes new schools, an additional Thameslink station, two community hubs, which will provide shared space for local residents and community groups, business hubs providing space and services for local businesses, a new children’s home and 320 new council homes. As part of the capital investment programme, £35million will be invested in two new leisure centres, £4.2million in a Youth Zone and £50million in a roads and pavement improvement programme.
Councillor Cornelius added: “Our investment programme will provide significant opportunities and swimming pools, a youth zone and community hubs for everyone in Barnet.
“As our borough grows we are committed to preserving what is good about the borough while improving the rest. This responsible development and investment will help give us financial sustainability for the future as funding further reduces as we start laying the foundations for generating our income locally.”
Notes to Editors
*This year there is flexibility for councils to apply a 3 per cent social care precept to Council Tax bills to be spent exclusively on care for vulnerable and elderly residents, to reflect the increased pressure on adult social care across the country. As well as delivering social care packages, the precept will help provide residential and day care for adults with dementia. The precept will help to pay for services which help individuals look after themselves such as lunch clubs and befriending services.