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CIPFA’s Head of Local Government, Sean Nolan, commented:
“Social care is in a funding crisis now so allowing councils with social care responsibilities to front load the maximum allowed precept increase is cautiously welcomed as a short-term boost to spending. However, we have three key concerns.
“First, the solution is a short-term sticking plaster that may not be able to save a system that is already haemorrhaging. It scarcely addresses the chronic under-funding now, never mind in the medium to long term.
“Second, because most councils were already planning to use the existing freedom to increase the social care precept by 2% in the next financial year, to bring it up to 3% is effectively only a real-term boost of 1% for 2017-18.
“Third, although the change to the New Homes Bonus will be a blow mainly to districts, the new resources for social care are to be welcomed for addressing the distributional inequalities that would otherwise have been caused by using the social care precept alone.”