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The social care precept - how this supports social services

By Essex Council Tax

The Social Care precept

Adult social care is one of the most pressing concerns in the UK today. As the population of our older population is set to increase by 25% over the next decade, this is a vital area of funding in our communities. For 2016/17, £493 million of council tax will be spent supporting vulnerable adults and older people throughout Essex. However, as time goes on, this funding will need to rise significantly.

Adult social care is the responsibility of Essex County Council and with an aging population it is important to provide funding for these services to develop in this changing environment. The social care precept, introduced for the first time in this tax year, allows councils to raise council tax by 2% if it requires additional support for social care services.

Essex County Council introduced this measure this year to ease the burden on our adult social care sectors. It is one of our key focus areas and one we are hoping to continue to support in order than they can provide exceptional care for vulnerable adults in our communities. Yet, this only meets the costs in part for this service, which is currently in excess of £40 million.

Why is this an essential precept?

Understandably, significant rises in Council Tax is not popular, but in this situation is necessary. An imposed reduction in public sector funding has increased the need to protect the adult social care sector. This has become increasingly overstretched in the face of an aging population and a consistent drop in nationwide spending in recent years (spending has dropped an average of 2.2% a year since 2009).

A total of 144 out of 152 London boroughs, counties, metropolitan districts and unitaries have elected to employ this precept, demonstrating the widespread need to increase funding into adult social care. 32% of the funding for this care is contributed by Council Tax, benefitting services such as:

  • Respite support
  • Specialist support for the physically or mentally disabled
  • Helping those with alcohol/drug dependency
  • Care homes and round-the-clock assistance
  • Aids to enhance independence in later life
  • Community activities and support

Your Council Tax is supporting the vulnerable and elderly across Essex, protecting their autonomy, wellbeing and security. The social care precept is an effective means to sustain these services in a time they are very much required. Over time, we hope to be providing more money for adult social care, offering vital assistance to those in need.

Nevertheless, we can only continue to grant this funding with your help. Did you know that up to £10 million of Council Tax is lost every year? Whether this is by oversights or outright fraud, this is money that needs to be devoted to the vulnerable in your community.

If you need to update your details or have any questions surrounding your Council Tax, contact your local authority or email

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