Social care ‘at breaking point’ despite council tax rises

The crucial point here is to note the difference between what ministers say and what they do.

Care services for elderly and disabled people in England are “at breaking point” and planned council tax rises are not enough to cover the growing costs, local authorities are warning.

Nine out of 10 councils say they expect to increase bills by 2% from April to boost social care funding.

But the Local Government Association says rising demand and the new National Living Wage will absorb most of the cash.

Ministers insist supporting those most in need is an absolute priority.

Source: Social care ‘at breaking point’ despite council tax rises – BBC News

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28 thoughts on “Social care ‘at breaking point’ despite council tax rises

  1. Michael Broadhurst

    why should we be paying more and more council tax for less and less services.
    its time this tax was done away with,because most of it is spent on massive inflated salaries for
    those who administer it.
    no-one in local government should get more than an MP.

    1. Daniel

      Agreed, scrap council tax and business rates and replace both with land value tax, rates set by area and what the land is used for. This would be far more progressive than either of the two existing taxes, and would be harder to avoid (can’t move land! Would mean online businesses like Amazon could be required to pay comparable taxes to physical shops due to taxes on their warehouses, which currently face lower business rates than shopping spaces, and houses would be taxed on size rather than a value set before house prices exploded!)

  2. Stephen Mellor

    There’s no such thing as “social care.” It’s “care for the elderly.”

    And it shouldn’t be paid for through council tax. It should be for through buying insurance, savings, and help from the family.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      It’s called “social care” because society pays for it, silly. That couldn’t happen if everyone was paying for it individually. In practical terms, most people wouldn’t be able to afford it because of matters we’ve discussed before, in which they’ve been ripped off by those with power over them.
      Oh, and if it’s only “care for the elderly”, what about all the other people society supports – children, the disabled? Up against the wall to be shot?

      1. Stephen Mellor

        This is called “begging the question.” You assume the conclusion in order to reach it.

        The fact is that it has to be paid for. Who better to pay for it than the person who uses it, modulated by insurance to spread risk and, yes, state help for the indigent.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        No, it isn’t “begging the question”. We know it is cheaper for society to fund care through taxation because we have tested that theory and found it to be correct. So no conclusion is assumed.

        Also, of course, people pay their taxes in the knowledge that some of it is specifically directed towards providing social care. For a government to cut it off with no prior warning (and in this case, prior warning needs to constitute a working lifetime) is unreasonable.

        No, you can’t expect people to pay for this kind of care individually unless they are being paid considerably more than you would be prepared to countenance, as we have seen from your previous comments. You are simply trying to paint other people into a corner in which they need care but cannot afford it. Then they end up dead in the street, don’t they? And you’d say it was their fault. What a sick, selfish attitude.

      3. Stephen Mellor

        “We know it is cheaper for society to fund care through taxation because we have tested that theory and found it to be correct.”

        Let’s say I save, say, £100K, over my lifetime for my care later in life, and that covers exactly the cost of my care.

        Now, let’s say you, in the same circumstances, pay £100K in taxes, that also covers exactly to cost of your care.

        Which of gets more care?

        According to you, it’s cheaper for taxes to pay for it. That would mean you get more care (i.e more bang for the buck.)

        How does that come about?

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        I don’t accept your premise.
        On what do you base your claim that £100k (or any amount that is equal on both sides), paid privately OR via taxation, would exactly cover the costs of care?
        How do you know it won’t be cheaper via taxation, which is my point?
        Please do not try to mislead readers in this way.

      5. Stephen Mellor

        I am simply removing the insurance element of “social” care by saying we each pop our clogs after £100K has been spent.

      6. Stephen Mellor

        “No, you can’t expect people to pay for this kind of care individually unless they are being paid considerably more”

        Or taxed less.

        “than you would be prepared to countenance, as we have seen from your previous comments.”

        False. I’m all for high pay.

        I’m just not for being forced to pay more for a product (your work) than the market rate against your competition (whether it be Mary from down the road, Amit in India, or Szymon recently arrived from Poland.)

      7. Mike Sivier Post author

        “Or taxed less.”

        No, it doesn’t work that way. Buying care for large numbers of people will always be cheaper than buying it individually because bulk costs are always cheaper.

        “False. I’m all for high pay.”

        As long as it isn’t being paid to the people who do the work – as we’ve seen from your previous arguments. And don’t harp back to your claim that the bosses and investors do any of the heavy lifting, because I’ve already destroyed it.

      8. Stephen Mellor

        High pay means high pay. To the workers.

        Just because you want to paint me as exploitative doesn’t mean that’s so. The market sets rates of pay and if folks have skills worth paying for, that’s great.

        If you don’t have any skills, then get some.

      9. Mike Sivier Post author

        I don’t have to paint you as exploitative – you have already done that.
        Look at your demand that pay must be depressed to a “market rate” equivalent to the lowest being paid anywhere in the world. That instantly demands that the UK regress back to the level of the least-developed country.
        No, thank you.

      10. Stephen Mellor

        It’s not exploitative to pay the market rate. It’s rational.

        Your alternative will raise the price of products so UK companies go out of business.

        If that’s really what you want, go for it.

      11. Mike Sivier Post author

        The market rate in the UK is higher because workers have successfully argued in the past that they deserve more. Why should they accept a return to lower rates because people in other countries have not done the same? THAT would be irrational.
        So, you pay the market rate here, or you go and live somewhere they accept your primitive philosophy.
        The alternative is not raising the price of products – it is for managers to be a little less greedy and accept that taking less of what isn’t theirs and giving the workers their due is better for the business as a whole (as has been proved to be the case. I’ll let you look up the studies because I’ve already reported on them).
        Your entire argument is an attempt to rationalise your own selfishness.
        Please accept that some of us have grown out of such silliness.

      12. Stephen Mellor

        “Buying care for large numbers of people will always be cheaper than buying it individually because bulk costs are always cheaper.”

        Monopsony depresses wage. Is that what you want?

        Besides, this really only works for commodities (or something that can be commoditised.)

        Like the National Horror Service.

      13. Mike Sivier Post author

        We’re not discussing a monopsony. Again, you try to distract from the issue.
        If the NHS can be commodified, then so can social care – in fact, your politics demands it.

      14. Stephen Mellor

        Wrong again.

        A single buyer in a market is a monopsony. Look it up.

        Indeed the NHS has been commoditised, and the results are exactly as you’d predict. Lowest common denominator service and depressed wages. The same will happen in “social” care.

        Buy your own; get what you want.

      15. Mike Sivier Post author

        A monopsony demands multiple sellers. Nobody mentioned such a phenomenon.
        I’m glad you agree that the commodification of the NHS has created a poor service and low wages. I look forward to seeing your campaign for a return to a nationalised service at the earliest opportunity.
        If you want people to buy their own, then pay them enough.

      16. Stephen Mellor

        Multiple sellers, yes. But a single buyer.

        The commoditisation of the NHS would get worse if nationalised. Just like everything else.

        If you want higher wages, earn them.

        PS You have a lot more posts to “moderate.”

      17. Mike Sivier Post author

        The higher wages HAVE been earned; that’s the point.
        In the case of care, not multiple sellers – the state takes the money to provide the care.
        In the case of the NHS, the proliferation of private businesses has caused serious financial difficulties. Nationalisation is the solution.
        PS In that case, accept defeat and allow me the time to consider them.

  3. e saul

    wait until osbournes vicious and ruthless attack on social housing and sheltered homes april i beleive this comes in to force it will put thousands of people in a desperate and even homeles situation this government rolls on with its persecution of ill sick vets in sheltered homes poor on low wages councils with no money yet the likes of cretins like smith cameron osbourne and the rest of the tory party hooray henrys all they see is keep the poor in the gutter and then run the country on a shoestring while they live in their paid for homes mansions whilst the poor get even more poorer by policies aimed directly at the most vulnerabie of all

  4. Malcolm MacINTYRE-READ

    I would like to point out to Stephen Mellor that no gov since the mid 1960’s took any notice of the FACT that the Baby Boomers were coming. As a student I heard a discussion on the BBC Home Service (aka Radio 4) which clearly explained the need for an extensive increase in health and social care services in the early years of the 21st C. That was due notice of at least 50 years.

    Maggie also thought, as you do, that social care should be paid through “insurance and savings”, leading to her gov’s plea for people to “take their own responsibility for their own old age” by taking out Personal Pension policies, with the savings put into those schemes, they said, being “safeguarded”. My wife and I had responsible positions in NFP orgs, but never earned anything near the “average salary”. However, we decided that the Maggie proposal was a responsible thing to do, especially as we were aware of the increasing costs and demands that would be incurred when we retired. We chose an insurance company that was known to not pay the best rates, but had a leading reputation for integrity and reliability, called Equitable Life (EL).

    The “safeguard” was the ‘Policyholders Protection Act 1975’ (PPAct) which “guaranteed” 90% compensation of losses. The Treasury, under Gordon Brown, was the direct regulator of EL, but failed to notice what the City knew, that EL’s risks had grown. When the Treasury eventually realised that EL was insolvent, they did not make it public, which enabled civil servants to move their policies to other companies without penalties. When EL did inform other policyholders of the situation, it was to inform them that, in addition to a devaluation of their savings, they also faced other losses, including penalties if they moved policies to another company. I did, losing 50% of my savings, while my wife did not, but still lost 25% due to continuing devaluation.

    Meanwhile, the Treasury closed down the PPAct and denied any responsibility for compensation, calculated as £6bn at the time, while Brown referred to EL savers as “Fat Cats”. In comparison, when the Treasury also managed to miss signs of the banking crash, they were quite agreeable to paying out £26bn for 90% compensation to bank savers. While still in opposition, our Dave promised to right the wrong, until to see Boy George using the apparent loss of all gov funds (which, it is now suggested, was not the case) to make the magnanimous offer of £1.5bn total EL compensation… but not a penny for anyone who had stupidly taken out their polices pre-1992, an arbitrary date which, the Treasury claimed, meant that the losses would not have “effected” decisions to take out “earlier” policies… including us 2.

    So much, young Stephen, for “insurance and savings”… but, of course, as you say, that leaves “family”. Our children may call me ‘Papa’ (to my face), but that is due to my wife being French, not because we live in a stately home.

    And a further complication was the Coalition’s decision to shut down the Standards Board, a genuinely independent means of disputing the decisions and actions of local authorities. The replacement Bright Idea was to require each Council to set up their own processes to deal with complaints… against themselves. From local experience, including threats of retribution by a senior police officer, in my home during a meeting set up by our PCC, because, he claimed, I had upset a local Town Clerk… by asking questions as to why she was not complying with the Crime & Disorder Act 1998, I believe there is little opportunity for us plebs, aka taxpayers and citizens, to effectively question elected representatives and public servants about their decisions over health and social care support… or rather the lack of.

    I am sure that this tirade will be so, so boring for you, but I just hoped to point out the reality – moral, financial and political – that us plebs have to deal with in the Con Gov environment not all of us voted for… which I now believe is a growing wish amongst those who did, but didn’t understand what it would mean to them and theirs.

    1. Stephen Mellor

      ¶1: Correct. And shameful.

      ¶2: Did you diversify?

      ¶3: Gordon Brown failed completely in every way.

      ¶4: Unfortunately, that attitude is prevalent in the UK today, especially on the Left. If you save, you’re a fat cat. A £1M in savings at today’s 2% (if you’re lucky) is only £20K p.a., then you have to pay taxes, and account for inflation.

      ¶4: Irrelevant. But sweet.

      ¶5: Unfortunately there’s a lot of self- or crony-regulation about.

      ¶6: Unclear why “local authorities” get in here.

      ¶7: Not boring at all. But why blame the “Con Gov” when it’s Gordon Brown’s fault?

      Thank you for telling us this cautionary tale. But it is as nothing compared to what’s going to happen when the government tries to pay up on all these impossible promises.

  5. Malcolm MacINTYRE-READ

    Thanks Stephen, but I would add…

    1: Not only ‘shameful’; it is the reason that we are where we are today.

    2: By ‘diversify’ do you mean spread our savings across various providers? First, working for a NFP org (nothing like the scale of Oxfam) salaries were nowhere near the “average wage”, and thus what we could save, caring for a growing family, was very limited and it would not have been viable to split it. Second, we tended to trust people more in those days… only to get screwed.

    3: GB was not the most motivating role model.

    4: I think I prefer ‘fat cat’ to ‘pleb’. If we had ‘ONLY £20K p.a.’ we would be delighted, but we still have to pay taxes and take account of inflation.

    4bis: I was trying to point out that not all of us can afford ‘insurance’ or stash away sufficient ‘savings’, while relying on ‘family’ assumes that they have more liquid loot than we have, which is not the norm… unless one lives in a stately home?

    5: I would say that ‘a lot of self- or crony- REGULATION’ is not ‘unfortunate’. It is corrupt.

    6: ‘Local authorities’ are “responsible” for social care and care homes, the basic needs for us plebs in our old age. Lack of accountability means that their failures are easily swept aside, with those in need losing out… again, and again, and again.

    7: The loss of our savings were, indeed, initially due to GB, but Her Majesty’s Treasury is a continuous institution. As I said above, our Dave promised, in opposition, to pay our legal entitlement to compensation, but failed to do so while PM of the Coalition, a position he has maintained through to today, for which the Con Gov is to be blamed, especially in comparison to the £26 billion they paid out for bank savers.

    You state that my ‘cautionary tale … is as nothing compared to what’s going to happen when the gov tries to pay up on all these impossible promises’. My tale is of some importance to myself, my wife and our family (remember them?), but apparently not sufficiently worthy… or relevant to the Cons.

    And I have to admit to being totally ignorant on what ‘all these impossible promises’ that the gov will try to pay are? I see no indication of the Con Gov being ready to pay for anything having got their sticky fingers on the plebs’ taxes, but they sure as hell intend to continuing screwing us into the ground, or did you not hear the Bankers’ Chancellor’s declaration last week?

    And then there’s IDS… but don’t start me on that one.

Comments are closed.