'Local authorities should be given the freedom to impose higher council taxes to help cope with the unprecedented funding crisis facing social care services after a near decade of austerity, the Tory chair of the Local Government Association has said.
James Jamieson urged ministers to inject billions of pounds into adult social care and give councils more control of local health services to protect elderly and disabled people and give them the support they needed. “It is a measure of a good society how well it treats it most vulnerable,” said the councillor.
Reflecting increasing concern over the impact of the reductions, he called for major extra investment in children’s social care, a reversal of cuts to Sure Start-style early-years family support services and a review of special educational needs services funding.
His comments reflect a growing cross-party consensus at local level that national government has little grasp how continuing austerity cuts are hurting local communities and putting people at risk. Last month, Jamieson’s Tory predecessor, Lord Porter, warned that vulnerable people would die because of social care cuts.
There is little confidence that the government will be in a position to deliver its promised three-year spending review this autumn, effectively imposing a further year of austerity on town halls and forcing them to plan for service cuts and staff redundancies they had hoped would be unnecessary.
The LGA warned earlier on Tuesday that the deteriorating outlook for council finances would see a fifth of authorities forced to impose drastic controls on spending this year to avoid insolvency, while a third of councils would struggle to deliver statutory services within three years.'
Read more: Let councils charge higher taxes to pay for austerity, says LGA chair
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