Council tax must go up to help vulnerable children, says leader

Worcester News: Council tax rise proposal defended by leader Council tax rise proposal defended by leader

COUNCIL tax must rise in Worcestershire to avoid a crisis in children’s care - amid fears more families may need help.

That’s the vow from the leader of Worcestershire County Council, who says he believes taxpayers are willing to accept a hike of nearly two per cent to help the vulnerable.

As your Worcester News revealed on Wednesday, a first rise since 2010 is on the cards at County Hall, adding £19.88 to the yearly average £1,453 band D bill.

Leader Councillor Adrian Hardman said the rise will help pay for an extra £4 million towards children’s social care.

At the moment around 650 children are in care in Worcestershire, the highest on record, and there are fears it could rise because of households struggling to make ends meet.

The budget for 2014/15 includes £29 million of cuts, with children’s care one of the few areas protected.

Coun Hardman, speaking during a cabinet meeting, said: “The bit of the budget which could be controversial is the council tax rise.

“But I’m absolutely determined that we won’t have children’s social workers driven by financial pressures, and that they make the correct decisions as to whether a child should go into care or not.

“We are targeting a council tax rise which will allow us to address this overspend (of £4 million) because we think the pressures on children’s services will not go away in the short term.”

For the last three years the Conservative leadership has opted to take a cash sweetener from the Government, worth a one per cent council tax rise, to accept a freeze for the public.

That has saved households around £65 each, but Coun Hardman said the financial pressures are too great to continue.

Councillor Marcus Hart, cabinet member for health and well-being, said: “I have always been a believer in low council tax, and have always advocated taking the freeze grants (from central Government), but after doing that for three years I think it’s right to consult over a rise.

“This will help support the pressures for looked-after children and I do think there is a groundswell that residents would be prepared to see an increase to help the most vulnerable.”

The budget will be voted on by full council in February, and if accepted a rise will kick in from April.

Comments (3)

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1:25pm Fri 10 Jan 14

ElsieL says...

"At the moment around 650 children are in care in Worcestershire ... there are fears it could rise because of households struggling to make ends meet."

And their response is to make it even harder to make ends meet by putting up our council tax. Nice.
"At the moment around 650 children are in care in Worcestershire ... there are fears it could rise because of households struggling to make ends meet." And their response is to make it even harder to make ends meet by putting up our council tax. Nice. ElsieL

1:13am Sat 11 Jan 14

Jabbadad says...

For some years locally across Worcestershire the Tories have been hacking away at services under the guise that they have kept the council Tax pegged.
Anyone should see that when a tax such as Council tax is administered the monies collected being in a central pot are of more signifigance than by leaving a couple of pounds per year in each of our pockets. The Tories are responsible for allowing the Council Tax increase in receipts to lag behind just to appease Central Government who use it as a political sweetener.
And should the council tax have been increased each year (not by huge ammounts, (and I am a full Council Tax payer) we would not be seeing the disgracefull cuts in older vulnerable peoples and Young vulnerable Peoples services now.
This is just one more example of sad politicians getting it wrong and demonstrating that being bogged down by Political Dogmas, they do not have the capability to run our councils.
And even though in my opinion they get far too much attendance allowances and expenses what ever they got would not be BEST VALUE.
For some years locally across Worcestershire the Tories have been hacking away at services under the guise that they have kept the council Tax pegged. Anyone should see that when a tax such as Council tax is administered the monies collected being in a central pot are of more signifigance than by leaving a couple of pounds per year in each of our pockets. The Tories are responsible for allowing the Council Tax increase in receipts to lag behind just to appease Central Government who use it as a political sweetener. And should the council tax have been increased each year (not by huge ammounts, (and I am a full Council Tax payer) we would not be seeing the disgracefull cuts in older vulnerable peoples and Young vulnerable Peoples services now. This is just one more example of sad politicians getting it wrong and demonstrating that being bogged down by Political Dogmas, they do not have the capability to run our councils. And even though in my opinion they get far too much attendance allowances and expenses what ever they got would not be BEST VALUE. Jabbadad

11:48am Sat 11 Jan 14

green49 says...

Anyone who fears they will be affected by all the cuts should ask to be ASCESSED WCC cannot refuse, its this stupid governments cuts that are behind it all, the Tory council are all yes men and have NO PROPER idea of how people will be affected, some elderly will die theres no doubt about that so who do we as taxpayers hold responsible???
Anyone who fears they will be affected by all the cuts should ask to be ASCESSED WCC cannot refuse, its this stupid governments cuts that are behind it all, the Tory council are all yes men and have NO PROPER idea of how people will be affected, some elderly will die theres no doubt about that so who do we as taxpayers hold responsible??? green49

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