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Our response to proposals to transfer Attendance Allowance to councils

26 September 2016

Self-sufficient local government: 100% Business Rates Retention consultation.

View our response

View original consultation

Our submission is concerned with one specific aspect of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) consultation: the proposals as they relate to the future of Attendance Allowance (AA).

DR UK strongly disagrees with proposals to include AA within the list of responsibilities that could be funded from retained business rates in future.

We are extremely concerned that if local authorities were required to replace AA in this way, many older disabled people would lose access to support they would have otherwise received, with significant, harmful consequences for individuals, carers, family members and local authorities.

Our key concerns are that:

  • Local authorities’ ability to meet growing demand for support previously provided by AA may not match income from business rates in their areas and could lead to postcode lotteries of provision
  • AA both prevents and offsets social care costs, which could then fall on local authorities if this support were no longer available

We therefore recommend that the government does not include AA among the list of responsibilities to be funded from retained business rates.

Background

This consultation sought views on the government’s commitment to allow local government to retain 100% of the business rates that they raise locally.

Although this, potentially, gives local councils in England control of an additional £12.5 billion of revenue to spend on local services, councils will gain new responsibilities and some Whitehall grants will be phased out.

Following responses to the consultation, the Government will make decisions on the responsibilities that will be funded from retained business rates.

Responsibilities considered within the consultation include:

  • The devolution of Attendance Allowance to local authorities. Existing claimants would be protected. New responsibilities would be matched by the transfer of equivalent spending power.
  • The grant for former recipients of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) which compensates for the cost pressures caused by the closure of the ILF.
  • The Improved Better Care Fund which goes directly to local government to ensure that health and social care services work together to support older and vulnerable people.
  • Local Council Tax Support grant, including the element of Housing Benefit administrative grant for what are currently joint claims.

This consultation closed on 26 September 2016.

The Strategic Society Centre produced a report Attendance Allowance and Local Government: Examining the evidence and the options