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COUNCIL tax bills could be hiked to pay for social care, MPs have claimed.
It would mean families face a “double whammy” of tax rises on top of the 1.25 National Insurance increase due to come into force at the same time as council tax goes up in April.
A senior minister told The Telegraph it was “a worry”, but added: “At the end of it all, people are going to ask themselves do they want the Government to level with them and be honest, or do they want a government that wrings its hands and does nothing?”
Clive Betts, the Labour chairman of the Commons housing, communities and local government committee, said: “Council tax bills will have to rise because there is no other way for councils to be able to pay for social care.
“The people who are going to be hit hardest by the council tax increases are the very people hit hardest by National Insurance increases. It is a double whammy in April.”
The committee will be expected to call ministers from the Communities department and town hall leaders to answer questions about the increases.
It will take place in a special evidence session next month before the spending review.
Local authorities have the power to charge an additional three per cent on top of council tax bills under legislation which Sajid Javid unveiled in 2016.
But figures show that one in three councils that can make these charges have not yet raised the price to the full amount.
On Tuesday the Government published their NHS and social care plan which hinted that the council tax hike is because of a delay in the £5.4 billion making its way through to local authorities.
Part of the plan suggests that the cap on the bills could be increased above three per cent in the Chancellor's Budget and Spending Review at the end of next month.
It said: "We expect demographic and unit cost pressures will be met through council tax, social care precept, and long-term efficiencies; the overall level of local government funding, including council tax and social care precept, will be determined in the round at the Spending Review in the normal way."
The Local Government Association said town halls were aware of the "significant burden that could place on some households".
A spokesman said: “Council tax rises – particularly the adult social care precept – have never been the solution to the long-term pressures faced by councils.”
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