John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council
Since we published our second phase budget proposals at the end of last month quite a few people have asked me about the proposed rise in council tax and how this relates to adult social care funding.
Nationally, adult social care is facing unprecedented pressure resulting from the needs of an ageing population, reducing budgets and increasing costs of care; the situation in Peterborough is no different.
To put it in figures, our city council has to deal with financial pressures on adult social care of over £2.3million next year due to increased factors including cost, demand and complexity of need.
We also have to rapidly prepare for the future as analysis of the Peterborough population indicates an increase of 17 per cent by 2021, of which people aged 85 and over are expected to increase by 40 per cent and those aged 55 and over by 26 per cent.
At the end of last year, the Government announced that local authorities would be able to levy a social care precept of three per cent on council tax – higher than the two per cent announced by former Chancellor George Osborne in 2015/2016.
However, the money raised through the precept is almost £500,000 lower than the investment we need to keep up with demand here in Peterborough. So despite the raise in council tax the pressure is still very real.
We find ourselves in this situation because people are living longer and a number of more local factors including that the number of people requiring nursing care in their care home is increasing coupled with the increased demands for council-funded care to vulnerable people within their own homes.
A great deal is already being carried out in our communities to prevent people needing costly care and support.
This includes areas such as the roll-out of assistive technologies, our care and repair service and reablement, which is a period of intensive support following a fall or similar incident.
Not only do these programmes keep people independent for longer they also reduce demand for expensive care placements.
Proposing a five per cent rise in council tax is never an easy option to put forward, but hopefully you can see why we have had to levy the social care precept to allow us to care for the generations of today and tomorrow.
One of Peterborough’s biggest and best events officially opened for online entry this week - the Perkins Great Eastern Run.
We had tremendous support from the Peterborough public last year, resulting in record race entry numbers and a fantastic atmosphere all around the course.
I am told that more than 1,600 people have already pre-registered for the half marathon that takes place on Sunday 8 October.
The event also includes a fun run in aid of the Anna’s Hope charity and I, having previously taken part, know what a great experience this is.
You can sign up to the event by visiting www.perkinsgreateasternrun.co.uk
If you’ve walked along Bridge Street recently then you may have noticed that work has begun to transform the vacant unit beside St Peter’s Arcade into a new restaurant, Middletons Steakhouse.
It’s more great news for our city centre, joining the likes of Wagamamas, the Pizza Parlour, Cote Brasserie and new bars the Stoneworks, Bumble Inn and Puzzles?.
These new ventures have all been attracted to the city centre following a wide range of improvements to regenerate the area, and I’m confident there are lots more to come this year.