Local authorities in England are being forced to increase council tax in order to pay for the higher demand in social services, according to a snapshot survey by the Local Government Association.
The survey claims that the increases are necessary to prevent cuts to services provided to vulnerable older people and people with mental health problems.
An analysis of 112 councils across England shows that the average council tax increase in England will be around 4%, despite an increase in money given to local authorities from central government.
However, the settlement included no funding for demographic change such as the increasing number of vulnerable elderly people and more people with mental and physical disabilities requiring care, the Association warns.
Commenting on the findings, chair of the LGA Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, said: “The money given by central government to most councils was better than originally proposed yet it still left over half of all councils with social services responsibilities with a grant increase of 2% or less.
“There is £2.5 billion spent on civil servants issuing directives and guidance, prescribing performance indicators, overseeing bid funding schemes and regulating and inspecting local authorities. By cutting down on this bureaucracy, the money could then be ploughed back into front line services.”