Commitment to elderly care in budget proposals

Care for the elderly in Dudley will be prioritised as part of council budget proposals, which will also see residents continue to pay some of the lowest rates in the country.

The budget plans look set to ensure Dudley borough residents continue to pay the lowest council tax rates in the region despite a proposed increase in rates for the first time in six years.

In addition to a 1.99% increase, the council also proposes to take up the offer of central government for council tax to be increased by a further 2% specifically for adult social care. The total increase will be equivalent to 77p more per week in a band c property in the borough.

Councillor Pete Lowe, leader of the council, said:

“Dudley has a history of offering exceptionally low council tax rates and this has been something we have maintained in recent years by continuing to freeze rates. Due to the continued reduction in funding from government, which leaves us with a significant shortfall moving forward, we are proposing to increase rates this year. However, Dudley residents should continue to pay some of the lowest council tax rates in the country and the lowest in the West Midlands.”

Councillor David Sparks, cabinet member for finance, said:

“In addition to a 1.99% increase we are taking up the government’s proposal to increase rates by another 2%, with all of this additional income going directly into looking after our elderly people in the borough. 

"Due to an ageing population and reduced funding, adult social care budget pressures are huge across the whole country and this precept will help to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in our community. Anyone who is elderly, or who has elderly relatives or friends, knows that caring for our increasingly older population is the most serious problem our society faces. We have to face up to the fact that this will cost us money."

In the budget report, savings of £8million are proposed for 2016/17, moving up to £18million by 2017/18 and £20million by 2018/19. But the report forecasts that there will still be a deficit of £23m by 2019/20 if additional savings are not found.

The proposals will go before a meeting of the council’s cabinet when it meets on January 18.


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