Tories claim they could freeze council tax for Blackpool residents with alternative spending plans

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Blackpool's Tories claim they could freeze council tax under alternative spending plans which include reducing the spiralling cost of children's care.

Households in the town will see their council tax bills rise by five per cent this April after the town's ruling Labour group agreed a budget which includes £16m of cuts.

Blackpool's Conservative group claims its budget would freeze council taxBlackpool's Conservative group claims its budget would freeze council tax
Blackpool's Conservative group claims its budget would freeze council tax
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But Coun Paul Galley, leader of the Conservative group on the council, says his 'Blackpoolnomics' alternative budget could freeze council tax while continuing to deliver services.

The Tories say 'millions of pounds' could be saved by using more foster care instead of putting children into costly residential care which costs around £290,000 a year per child.Freezing director salaries, cutting councillor allowances and initiatives to reduce losses due to fraud are also part of Coun Galley's proposed spending model.

He said: "It predicted if all these things were done, by freezing council tax the overall tax income for the council would grow rather than fall. Crucial to Blackpoolnomics working is investment in Fylde Coast foster carers. Currently, Blackpool Council spend £65m a year on children's services, an annual rise of £41.7m since 2011. "

Coun Carl Mitchell, who has looked after more than 100 children during his long fostering career for which he was awarded an MBE, said using more foster care could save millions of pounds.

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He said: "In 2018 we had over 300 children looked after by Blackpool's own internal foster carers and shockingly that’s now down to 184. It means 120 more children are now being looked after in far more expensive accommodation.

"The average residential placement cost per child is now £290,000 per year versus around £20,000 for an internal fostering placement. Council officers have suggested themselves a third of children in residential homes do not require this type of care

"Moving only a fraction of the children from residential, into internal foster placements, could save millions allowing us to freeze council tax, fill potholes and clear our streets from weeds.”

Council tax for an average band D property will increase to £2,277 for the financial year 2024/25, including precepts to pay for police and fire services, from the current level of £2,170.

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Coun Jim Hobson, cabinet member for children’s social care, said the council was already increasing capacity in foster care.

He said: "Just under 80 per cent of the children that are looked after are living in family homes, and we would like to see this percentage grow even as the overall number of children who are looked after continues to fall.

"Alongside the work to increase the support available to families to overcome challenges together, we are working equally hard to reduce the number of children who are in our care who living in residential homes.

"We are actively looking to recruit more foster families to work with us, and we are part of a new regional consortium that is working collectively and imaginatively to raise the awareness of the need for family homes for children and make it easier for those who express an interest to become foster carers."

To find out more about foster care contact Blackpool Council on 01253 420222 or visit

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