Kent could receive an extra £20 million a year for social care if council tax bills in London were paid more fairly, the leader of Kent County Council has claimed.
Cllr Paul Carter has called for inner London boroughs to pay a fairer household levy, which he said could raise £1 billion which could be “redistributed proportionately to the counties”.
Council tax in the City of London, where the average house price is £964,875 according to Rightmove, costs just £931.20 for a Band D property.
Meanwhile, a Band D property in Kent, where the average property is valued at £326,972, will fetch a council tax bill of £1,113.55.
Speaking in Caring Kent magazine, free inside KM Group newspapers this week, Cllr Carter said: “Everyone agrees that the current system is not fair and equitable.
“Many London boroughs charge council tax of £650 a year whereas in Kent we may charge £1,500 to £1,600 a year.
“There is over funding in inner London which amounts to £1 billion.
"If council tax payers paid the same as the average for the rest of the country, over the next three to four years that would redistribute £1 billion out of inner London to the country shires.
“If that were redistributed proportionately to the counties, Kent would receive an extra £20 million funding from the national government.”
The comments come amid increasing demand for adult social care resources against declining funding.
Nationally the number of people aged over 60 is expected to pass the 20 million mark by 2030 and within Kent, by 2026, the number of people who are 65 or over is expected to increase by 43.4%.
In its adult social care strategy for the next five years, published in December, Kent County Council has shifted its focus away from residential care towards promoting and supporting independence.
It is also trying to improve wellbeing to prevent, delay or reduce people’s need for social-care amid a decline in central government funding.
Over 80% of the council’s budget for adult social care is spent through the Kent care market, made up of around 500 providers, employing more than 40,000 people.
Cllr Carter added: “We know the numbers and demand is going to increase substantially.
“Sustainable funding for social care is a rising challenge for local government and demand increases as more people reach old age and have intensive social care packages.
“We have got to work closely with central Government on new ways of raising additional money.”
In December, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed plans to allow councils to charge up to an extra 3% on council tax bills for adult social care, up from 2% originally planned.
This gives them the ability to raise an additional £208 million this year. It comes on top of a new adult social care grant worth £240 million.
Pick up your free Caring Kent supplement, available inside all paid-for KM Group newspapers this week.