Local authorities will be allowed to raise council tax by six per cent in order to fund social care.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid announced his new proposals today, Thursday, December 15, which will allow councils to raise the tax by three per cent next year and three per cent again the year after.

Mr Javid said it is expected these council tax rises will raise up to £208 million for adult social care in 2017/2018, and up to £444 million in the year after.

Campaigners have been urgently calling for more money to be provided for adult social care, to help fund services for the elderly and disabled.

However, it will be up to each individual council to decide whether they use this precept or not.

He also announced a £240 million adult social care support grant that will be created next year by reforming the existing ‘new homes bonus’ (NHB), which was designed to encourage councils to build new properties.

Mr Javid added that from next year the NHB will no longer be paid to councils who fail to meet the housing growth target of 0.4 per cent, and from 2018/19 he will also consider withholding it from local authorities which are not “planning effectively”.

He told MPs: "Last year we agreed to the request from many leaders in local government to introduce a social care council tax precept of 2 per cent a year, guaranteed to be spent on adult social care.

"The precept puts money raising powers into the hands of local leaders who best understand the needs of their community and are best placed to respond.

"In recognition of the immediate challenges that are facing the care market, we will now allow local councils to raise this funding sooner if they wish.

He was accused of “passing the buck” by shadow communities minister Jim McMahon, when he added that councils will have to justify the precept rises to their council tax payers. 

 Last year, local authorities were given the power to raise council tax by up to 1.99 per cent a year to help fund council services. On top of this, local authorities were also told they could raise council tax by a further 2 per cent specifically to fund adult social care.

Only eight councils in England refused to use the precept, which is so far estimated to have raised £382 million for adult social care.

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