Council tax rise will pay for adult social care
Where the majority of money will be spent as part of West Berkshire's council tax rise has been revealed - with most of it going towards an increased demand for adult social care.
Of the 4.99% increase, 3% of it will go towards adult social care and will generate £2.5m for the council to help deliver a vital service which supports those who most need help across the district.
Adult social care covers support for physical and mental health needs as well as learning disabilities and other conditions. West Berkshire Council already spends around £38m, or a third of its budget, on social care. However, with the number of residents aged over 65 growing by 3% annually this also means that the number of people qualifying for support from the council increases.
Speaking about social care Councillor Rick Jones, West Berkshire Council's Executive Member for Adult Social Care said: "Social care might be needed at any time in your life and we all want to be sure that help will be there if we need it. This is an important area and we need to fund it properly if we are to continue providing help to those who need it most. We're committed to protecting spending on social care during the financial challenges we face and the precept will help us maintain the service we provide."
In West Berkshire the number of people aged over 65 now accounts for 24% of the population. In addition, the needs of all the people supported by the council are also gradually increasing in complexity so that more and more individuals now need multiple support services. This inevitably means that the costs to West Berkshire Council are increasing too, and this is set to continue. On average, the cost of supporting an elderly person is £17,000 each year and this can rise to £44,000 annually for those with learning disabilities.
West Berkshire Council's budget for 2017/18 will be considered at a meeting of full Council on Thursday 2 March, 2017