Council tax increase to fund social care

DORSET County Council will increase council tax by almost six per cent this year, with more money to be spent on social care, early help and prevention.

Members of Dorset County Council met on Thursday to set the council’s budget and share of council tax for the next financial year.

At the meeting of the full council, members agreed to increase council tax by 5.99 per cent to help deal with inflation and bridge the funding gap in adult social care.

They agreed to raise council tax by 2.99 per cent (the maximum without triggering a local referendum), plus a further three per cent to fund adult social care – which is in line with the government’s six per cent levy (over a total three-year period). The increase in the county council’s share of council tax means a Band D household will pay £79.47 more a year, or £1.53 a week.

The three per cent social care precept will raise an additional £6.6million this year for the council to invest in adult social care.

Leader of Dorset County Council, Rebecca Knox, said that around two thirds of the budget would go towards children’s and adult social care – including offering help early on, providing services in places where people go and helping people to stay independent.

She said: “The way people lead their lives is constantly changing – particularly with the use of technology – so this means we need to adapt and be flexible in the way we deliver services.

“We must make the most of every pound to provide more personalised and community-based services that focus on prevention, early help and empowering people to live independently.

“Working with our partners, we all have a collective responsibility to make the most of every pound that Dorset has. We all face financial constraints, but this should not stop us listening to residents and making sure we are delivering services that make a positive difference to people’s lives.”

Councillor Tony Ferrari, Cabinet member for community and resources, said: “Although we are facing increasing demand for both children’s and adult’s social care, there’s also a lot of investment being made across Dorset – including our multi-million school improvement programme to deliver more school places, and recruiting more children’s social workers and foster carers to improve the lives of our most vulnerable children.”

Alongside a significant investment programme, the council has also set a target of saving of around £18.3million in 2018/19.

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