§ Mr. Harvey
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy to restrict the liability of residential care homes to the council tax.
§ Mr. Robin Squire
It is right that residential care homes should contribute to the cost of local services from which they benefit. However, we have taken several measures to ensure that these contributions are modest and fair.
Special rules mean that the owner of a care home, not its residents, will be liable to pay the council tax bill. The size of that bill will be kept down by the banding arrangements, which ensure that larger dwellings gibe rise to less tax, proportionate to their value, than smaller ones.
There will be personal discounts for residents of care homes, so that they do not count towards the personal element of the tax. In many cases these discounts will reduce the council tax bill by 50 per cent. Finally, any home with a resident who, because of a disability, needs a room, an extra bathroom or kitchen, or circulation space indoors for a wheelchair will be able to apply to the local authority for a reduction equivalent to one valuation band.