Camden Council given ‘no choice’ but to propose 3.99% tax rise

Sarah Hayward, leader of Camden Council

Sarah Hayward, leader of Camden Council - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Camden Council has proposed a 3.99 per cent rise in council tax to ward off a crisis in social care that could have a “significant human cost”.

Don Williams

Don Williams - Credit: Archant

Cllr Sarah Hayward, leader of the council, said on Thursday she had been “given no choice” but to push for the maximum increase because social care is at “breaking point”.

Half the rise – 2pc – will be accounted for by the new social care precept, while the 1.99pc is for general council tax.

But Camden Conservatives finance spokesman Don Williams, while applauding the “necessary” move to increase funding for care, said the council tax rise was “excessive”.

Cllr Hayward said: “It’s apparent that the Government aren’t willing to sufficiently fund the social care sector, so we’re given no choice but to not only recommend an increase in council tax, but also to find further solutions to deliver long-term savings so that we continue to provide care to those who need it.”

She added: “Frankly, this is a like using a plaster to patch up a patient after heart surgery. Increasing tax is a short-term fix for a system that’s at breaking point – it is not the long-term solution.

“Nationally this year’s 2% precept that councils were able to raise was largely eaten up just paying the Living Wage increase alone.”

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Cllr Williams, however, said he is “wondering what the council tax rise is about”.

“They should increase council tax more in line with cost pressures they are experiencing,” he said.

“General council costs have only gone up by 1pc.”

He added: “I want to stand up for residents and say we need more value for money.”

The cabinet also agreed an approach to develop a new adult social care strategy for older and disabled people in the borough.

It includes a revised savings and investment programme.