Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Increased council tax 'won't solve funding crisis'

Once a nurse, 91-year-old Margaret Webb now needs help herself. She's one of an ever growing number of people who get care at home.

She has breathing problems and other medical difficulties and needs help getting up, at lunchtime and to go to bed.

Somerset County Council has just shaved 15 minutes off her hour long morning visit and she lost her tea time visit altogether.

And those half hours make quite a difference to the help you need when you are poorly and to take quarter of an hour here and half an hour there.

Especially in the morning when you get up, because my blood pressure drops so low I can't jump out of bed in a hurry, rush to the bathroom and get all these things done.

– Margaret Webb

Somerset Care is a not for profit social enterprise that runs 27 care homes in Somerset. It also provides care for people like Mrs Webb.

They say the current 2% council tax charge isn't enough for the county council to pay them properly.

The announcement allowing councils to raise extra money now - but less later - won't solve the underfunding problem.

The amount of money that we receive from the council doesn't cover the cost of providing the care and we simply cannot afford to take too many people on council funding because otherwise our business wouldn't be viable but we cannot run the business sustainably in the long term if we do so.

– Dr Jane Townson, Chief Executive Somerset Care
£23,250
Those with assets of more than this pay higher care home fees to subsidise those with less.

Those with assets less than £23,250 are paid for by the County Council.

The authority told ITV West Country it is committed to helping people remain independent, but more people need support and they have to prioritise where they spend the money the government allows them to raise.