Councils warn they cannot fund ‘dementia tax’ proposals

Conservative council leaders have warned that county councils cannot afford a £308 million rise in care home costs if the ‘dementia tax’ goes ahead.

Tory-dominated shire councils have warned they cannot afford the proposal that would offer state support to people with assets of £100,000 or less - a huge increase from the current £23,250.

The County Councils Network (CCN) said new analysis showed raising the threshold would push more people into state care than local authorities could afford to fund.

Colin Noble, the Conservative leader of Suffolk council, said: “Substantial reductions to social care budgets have left councils with little choice but to negotiate lower fees for their taxpayers’ money, but this means the system is being propped up by private fee payers. This is clearly unsustainable, with many care home providers at a very real risk of collapse.

“The government should use the autumn budget to inject further cash into the system: with counties’ funding black hole in social care alone projected to reach £1.6 billion by 2021, we will not be in a position to raise fees that councils pay to care providers.”

Martin Tett, the Conservative leader of Buckinghamshire County Council, told The Guardian: “The principle that those who have the assets should contribute to their care is not unreasonable, but clearly if more people are qualifying for council-funded care, we in local government will regard that as a new burden and absolutely insist on the need for more funding.

“Councils are already under substantial pressure on adult social care, particularly in the north, where there are more people eligible for state-funded care.

“If we get to a situation where the cross-subsidy of the care home sector by private residents is more imbalanced, that could destabilise the sector.”

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