Part of me is delighted that the council tax set by the local authority I live in is one of the lowest in the country; for one of the bands, I understand it’s the lowest. For non-UK readers, the ‘council tax’ is the payment made by a household to the local authority for local services, including road maintenance, libraries, parks and refuse collection. The low council tax – which seems to be roughly half what friends in other authorities pay – doesn’t seem to affect provision of those services, although I suspect the money from parking charges, permits and fines helps to swell the coffers.
But the part of me that – possibly perversely – isn’t thrilled about the low charge is concerned about provision of social care. I know from local doctors that they are facing increased calls on their time because they provide the back-stop service when social care is no longer there. Cuts in social care services have been made across the country but it seems to me that there’s scope for doing something about this where I live. A fairly small increase in council tax for residents could work wonders for social care (and there are other worthy causes too). I know there’s a cap on the percentage increase in council tax but the increase this year has (again) been small and there’s even been a decrease at times in previous years.
Rather than proclaiming how low the council tax is, couldn’t the local authority look at ways to present and promote an increase directed at funding social care? I’d find that a more palatable way of approaching the new council tax year and I’m sure many others would too.