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Councils urged to use new social care powers

Councils urged to use new social care powers

Published at 9:45am 28th January 2016. (Updated at 3:20pm 28th January 2016)

New powers given to councils could raise millions of pounds for social care in Yorkshire.

That's according to the GMB union, which represents care home staff in the region.

The Chancellor’s Spending Review gave authorities the flexibility to raise council tax by up to 2% a year to fund adult social care services.

In addition, the Government announced £1.5 billion in additional funding for local authorities to spend on adult social care by 2019/20, to be included in an improved Better Care Fund.

The GMB says that in North Yorkshire alone, using the new powers could raise £33.3 million a year by 2019/20.

Across Yorkshire and the Humber's 15 local authorities, that figure could total £335.9 million.

Rachel Dix, GMB Regional Officer for social care, said: "If social care is going to be adequately funded in future, then increasing the tax base is an inevitable and important step along that road.

"Allowing local authorities to raise council tax by 2% each year is only the start.

"This is because there are massive disparities in how much extra cash for care different councils will be able to generate.

"Some councils will be able to pay fair fees to providers, whilst others won't come close to bridging the funding gap.

"Where there is a funding shortfall, the Government must step and fill it.

"We expect councils to spend every penny of this possible new money of £335.9 million for the region on providing the care that our elderly and vulnerable deserve."