Tax rises ‘won’t solve council money problems’

Council tax rises in cities like Sheffield will not stop the crisis in local government funding, according to the Local Government Association.

The group, which represents local authorities across the country, says that plans by councils across England to put up taxes will not cover rising expenses including the cost of the National Living Wage.

Chairman of the LGA, Lord Porter said: “Extra council tax income will not bring in anywhere near enough money to alleviate the growing pressure on social care both now and in the future.”

Sheffield City Council announced last week that it would raise council tax by 4.9 per cent, including the maximum three per cent to try to cover rising social care costs.

These are the maximum rises allowed without holding a local referendum. 

“Social care faces a funding gap of at least £2.6 billion by 2020. It cannot be left to council taxpayers alone to try and fix this crisis,” said Lord Porter.

Sheffield City Council’s cabinet member for finance and resources, Coun Ben Curran, says calls for more money from Westminster have “fallen on deaf ears”, leaving councils no alternative but to increase council tax above inflation to help protect the most vulnerable people.

The planned rises are expected to come into force from this April. Other local authorities across the region are also increasing council tax by a similar amount.