COUNCIL tax should be raised further to boost funding for social care, the county's Lib Dems have said.

Worcestershire County Council's Liberal Democrats have proposed raising council tax by three per cent from April - half a per cent higher than the plans put forward by the authority's ruling Conservatives.

The extra half per cent would go directly towards adult social care and looking after some of the county's most vulnerable people.

The extra increase would raise a further £1.4 million, the council's Lib Dem group said.

The county council's Conservative administration has already proposed increasing its share of council tax by two and a half per cent from April - one per cent of which would go directly to adult social care.

The planned rise would see tax bills increase by around £33 more for the average band D household for the county council's services.

As part of Chancellor Rishi Sunak's Spending Review in November last year, the county is set to receive an extra £2.2 million as part of the government's social care grant.

The extra millions can be split between adult and children's care and the Lib Dems say £500,000 should be used to support social workers.

Under current Conservative plans, all of the extra social care grant money would be used up by adult social care in its budget.

An extra £900,000 would also be spent on 'community reablement provision' - short-term care to help people recover at home after being discharged from hospital.

The budget amendment by the Lib Dems said: "Our group recognises the amazing work undertaken by our adults and children’s social workers over the last year in response to the pandemic.

"We are aware that they have not always been able to get the break they deserve. As such we want to be able to increase the funding for support and ancillary workers to enable those social workers to re-energise and take time out and also, if funding allows, further develop opportunities in order that they can continue their fantastic work well into the future."

Cabinet papers revealed a £26.5 million gap in its budget for the next year - almost three quarters of which is taken up by adult and children's social care - but council bosses say the budget will be balanced.

Cllr Simon Geraghty, leader of Worcestershire County Council, said the proposed council tax increase was not something he wanted to do but it was necessary to ensure essential services were funded.

"I totally understand that any rise in council tax is something that has to be carefully considered and is not something that any member of any political party really wants to do," he said.

"But ultimately the services the most vulnerable people in society and those investments in things the public have said that they want to see improve have to be funded."

The county council meets in full from 10am on Thursday (February 18) to discuss the budget plans.