Herts householders face 3.99% rise in council tax demand to fund social care
Hertfordshire County Council has announced plans to put an extra £12m in the pockets of the county's 30,000-strong care workforce.
The pay rise will be funded from a special 2% increase in the authority's council tax precept – on top of a 1.99% general rise – from the start of April.
With the district and town councils and the Herts Police and Crime Commissioner finalising their budgets and spending plans for 2020-21, it means a band D household in Bishop's Stortford could see its council tax bill for council and police services rise from £1,717.24 currently to over £1,800.
The county council's total 3.99% increase equates to a rise of £1.04 a week – £54.08 for the year – for a band D property, from £1,359.98 to £1,414.06. HCC accounts for about 80% of a Stortford household's council tax bill for providing adults' and children's social services, education, highways, the fire service and libraries.
Cllr Richard Roberts, HCC's executive member for adult care and health, said: "It takes a special person to care, and we hear time and time again from our care workforce that they do this job because it's a vocation, supporting people to live as independently as possible.
"We hope that this extra pay will help us to encourage some of the people who have left social care to work in other sectors to come back to social care – and that people who may not have been financially able to consider care as a career choice before will come and join us now.
"Without people working in care, the whole health and social care system would collapse. We are hoping this investment reinforces our message to those front-line workers: we are listening, we value the role you play in our society and we want you to continue providing quality support to those who need it."
The council has earmarked a further £3m for special education needs transport. To meet the challenges of a growing county, it is investing £37m over a five- year period, with £8m being invested in 2020-21 in improving the standard of the road network.
Environmental measures include £10m of capital to invest in public transport and bus priority measures. There will also be an initial £300,000 a year as a catalyst for the emerging Sustainable Hertfordshire Strategy.
The council has identified £17m of savings for next year, including working with the charitable trust Libraries for Life.
If the draft plans are approved at cabinet on Monday (January 20), the budget proposals will then be considered by cabinet panels and the overview and scrutiny committee, before the final financial recommendations are made by cabinet on February 24, for approval by the full council the next day.
Herts householders are facing a further rise in their council tax for law and order. Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd is ready to raise his share of the bill again from April and has asked residents to comment. Last year he hiked the precept by 14.6%, from £164 to £188 for a band D property – £2 a month extra.
East Herts Council and Bishop's Stortford Town Council have yet to set their precepts.