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Cheshire West Council Tax to Rise to Meet Social Care Costs

Published: 18th January 2018 10:01

Cheshire West and Chester Council is proposing a 4.99% council tax increase to meet budget plans.

Cllr Samantha DixonCllr Samantha Dixon, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester

The council is facing a £33.3 million budget gap over the next three years and says that the proposed rise will help offset this whilst protecting services, particularly those for vulnerable people.

Costs-cutting will amount to £10.9 million, whilst the 4.99% rise will allow an investment of £10.2 million in Adult Social Care and £6.6 million in Children's Social care between now until 2021.  The rise includes a 2% precept for adult social care and 2.99% for general services. It equates to an extra £1.32 per week in a Band D property.

Early budget proposals for 2018-19 are included in a report for the Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which meets on Wednesday, 24 January.

Councillor Samantha Dixon, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: "Increasing council tax is not a decision we take lightly as we know many families are struggling, but we have a responsibility to protect our vulnerable residents and maintain frontline services despite massive cuts to our funding by central government.

"Our reduced funding means we have to take difficult decisions and we have had an open and honest dialogue with residents about the tough choices we face. These budget proposals have been informed and influenced by an extensive consultation with the public and we got the message loud and clear. Residents want us to make more efficiency savings and to protect vulnerable adults and children, and that is exactly what we are proposing to do.

"We are committed to making sure we support children to get the best start in life and to keep vulnerable adults and children safe and protected.

"The most significant costs we face are increasing numbers of children entering care and our ageing population, which puts greater pressure on social care. Sadly, cases of trafficking, child sexual exploitation, domestic abuse and chronic neglect are increasing nationally.

"This increases demand for our services, creating huge financial pressures on our budget, which, if we didn't take action, would threaten the quality of care we provide.

"More people are living longer, which is good, but many people are living longer with very complex needs, which increases demand on social care and, again, puts significant financial pressure on our budget - something we need to address to maintain our standards of care."

Budget proposals outline how the Council will bridge the gap and set out how it will achieve the priorities in the Council Plan 2016-20, Helping the Borough Thrive. This includes setting aside £1 million to reduce the gap between more and less deprived areas of the borough and investing £208.7 million in the next three years on capital projects like the regeneration of Winsford, Northwich and Chester.

Schemes to support residents struggling to pay council tax bills would also be protected.

Budget proposals also cover initiatives to make the Council more self-sufficient in the light of cuts to central government funding, including plans to reduce the Revenue Support Grant - the biggest source of money for local government which is not ring-fenced - to nil by 2020.

The budget proposals are part of the Councils four-year financial plan that accompanies the Council Plan and was agreed by Council in 2016.

Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, chaired by Parkgate Ward Councillor Martin Barker, will be asked to make recommendations to Cabinet, which meets on 7 February. Final proposals will be considered at the Council's annual budget setting meeting on 1 March.

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At 21:37 on 18th January 2018, Poacher commented:
Seriously.... A 4.99% increase in council tax... When will the council get round to addressing all the inefficiencies within its business model, what we need is some courageous leaders with the civil service to stand up and cut out all the waste, until that happens we will continuously be hit with tax increases which are well above the uplifts in most folks pay. It's bonkers.....l.
At 01:18 on 20th January 2018, Dan commented:
Fully agree Poacher. Labour run council full of bureaucracy and waste blame central government for their own inefficiency and then stitch the residents up for a far greater than inflation rise. Who would have thought that would happen.

Also this line from above "investing £208.7 million in the next three years on capital projects like the regeneration of Winsford, Northwich and Chester." So the more affluent areas of CWAC get huge investment subsidised by areas such as Ellesmere Port and Neston. Am I reading that correctly ?
It's only me
At 12:31 on 20th January 2018, It's only me commented:
And the next day we get a Council Tax scam warning.
CO Jones
At 13:08 on 20th January 2018, CO Jones commented:
Winsford and Northwich affluent Dan? Have you been to either recently? Both significantly failing civic centres in need of a radical rethink.

The Barons Quay and Waitrose development have helped in Northwich but the old precinct area still needs a massive overhaul.

Winsford has barely had a surface scratch of regeneration yet.

Ellesmere Port needs the same from the looks of it which needs pushing further up the redevelopment agenda.

Neston and Parkgate are mostly doing very well in comparison to all of the above. They have to spend the money where it's likely to have the most impact. Which is why Northwich has just had a significant flood defence scheme built whereas Parkgate and Neston will always rely on temporary defences and sand bags in the right places.
Dave Carter
At 19:38 on 20th January 2018, Dave Carter commented:
But you actually know the reason for that, don't you CO. Many don't, and do not appreciate the differences between protecting against tidal flooding and river flooding.
CO Jones
At 19:58 on 20th January 2018, CO Jones commented:
The biggest driver tends to be financial unfortunately. 8 pounds protected for every 1 pound invested.

The highways work on a 1 to 1 ratio.

Anyway, back on message. I'm happy to pay higher taxes to support most of the points raised in this article. It's important to look after the young and the old. I'm happy to pay for that.
Dave Carter
At 21:11 on 20th January 2018, Dave Carter commented:
In a river flood you have a fixed volume of water. In a tidal flood you have a fixed level. King Cnut found this, really he understood it very well, but felt that he needed to stage a demonstration.

Thats not to say that you shouldn't protect against tidal flooding, but it is more difficult and more expensive.
CO Jones
At 21:21 on 20th January 2018, CO Jones commented:
Not really. Fluvial, ground water and surface water run off to consider in any river catchment. I wish they were "fixed volumes or water".

You should also look at the coat of the Victoria Park scheme in Warrington in regard to coastal flooding protection being more expensive (as an example).

This is all veering off topic I suppose.
Dave Carter
At 21:22 on 20th January 2018, Dave Carter commented:
And to get back to the subject, but with a similar theme, increased costs of social care are inevitable when life expectancy is increasing faster than health outcomes are improving.
Better the devil you know
At 12:00 on 21st January 2018, Better the devil you know commented:
Funding for Northwich flood defence scheme came from a different funding stream which was a one time offer from the government to protect businesses as opposed to the usual protection of properties. Without this Northwich probably never would have got defences.

Economically protecting neston and parkgate from tidal flooding would be difficult to justify because of the cost to properties protected ratio.
At 10:18 on 23rd January 2018, Poacher commented:
Back to the point... the general public should not have to foot the bill for the inefficient management practices within the council, the central government cuts are a leading indicator that should be used by the councils to cut their cloth to suit, they should not be passing these shortfalls in their budgets through to you and me. A 5% Incease is wrong in the current economic climate. The council needs to face into the issue and not simply pass it on
CO Jones
At 18:36 on 23rd January 2018, CO Jones commented:
Which particular Central Government cuts do you think we should base the model on?
CO Jones
At 18:39 on 23rd January 2018, CO Jones commented:
I have been led to believe the economy is booming according to papers such as the Daily Mail which is glanced at when passing newspaper stands just to make sure I am aware of where they believe we need to be focussing our hate this week..
At 11:58 on 24th January 2018, Bob commented:
What about the introduction of the 20 MPH around Neston. I have been told of very high costs to set it up. What has happened since?? Car still doing 40 MPH and ignoring the speed limit. Nothing done about it as we have no police to enforce it. A complete waste of time and money. Yet again our wonderful Labour administration, spend and spend again.
As a council tax payer there is nothing I can do but pay up. I am now on a fixed income as I am retired. If I object or refuse to pay I will be taken to court and end up with a criminal record. Wonderful!

Susan C
At 15:11 on 24th January 2018, Susan C commented:
Poacher - do give us some examples of 'inefficient management practices within the the council'. Also tell us how you would deal with the huge problem of social care for the elderly in CWAC area? Or are there no hospital beds being taken up by the elderly with nowhere to go? Is it all a myth?
At 15:20 on 24th January 2018, Annie57 commented:
Investing in adult care is a joke. We had an outstanding Care Centre in Neston Hallwood Court, what has happened there is an absolute disgrace. It used to be a place that elderly people lived in and offered respite care for people in need of it. They also had an excellent day Centre.Over the years they changed it to supported living with people having individual flats they kept the day Centre but cut down drastically on Staff. Then they handed it over to a private care company who were only interested in making a profit. I know the staff were put under enormous pressure and stay because of their vocation and concern for the residents who remain. It was brought to the Councils attention what is going on there. Their answer they have put it in the hands of another private company. I fail to see any commitment from CWACC to the elderly all I see is false promises and they will have an excuse ready to publish when confronted again.
At 17:50 on 24th January 2018, Denno commented:
Looking on the brighter side,Liverpool CT is proposing to increase by 5.99% but my question is - Have these councils used up all or some of their reserves before increasing the CT? I think that CWaC should be ashamed of the way that Hallwood Court has gone and if this is the way that they will spend my 2% they can forget it.

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