Hounslow Council Tax Bills Set To Rise By Over 4 Per Cent
Failure of waste collection services to reach budget target means more cuts needed
Hounslow Council Tax payers look set for an increase in their bills of over 4% after the Council’s cabinet approved the rise. The more still needs to be rubber-stamped at meeting of the full Borough Council on 20 February.
This will mean that the band D Council Tax charge will increase to £1,167.76 which represents an increase of £44.91 (4%) over the 2017/18 charge and creates a total charge of £1,461.99 once the proposed Greater London Authority (GLA) precept is added. The GLA precept has increased by £14.21 for 2018/19.
This is only the second increase in Council Tax over the last 12 years. The report recommending the increase states, “The implications of the government's public expenditure plans and the local authority finance settlement are severe for
Hounslow's budget and the provision of services."
The increase is made up of a 2% rise on general taxation and another 2% specifically for spending on social care. The total is 1% less than the level of rise that would require a referendum before it could proceed.
The initial estimated savings for 2018/19 and 2019/20 was £46.2m, of which £27.4m was required for 2018/19 but a further £7.3m savings are required according to the report.
One reason for the need for increased savings is the failure of the transfer of the waste collection service in October 2016 to Lampton Recycle 360 (LR360) to deliver the expected cost reductions. Mobilisation of the new collection service has not been able to deliver within budget and the service is expected to overspend by £2.7m. It is unclear if the changes to the waste service will realise all the savings proposed to date and it is very unlikely that the service will be on budget in 2018/19. As a result of the savings approved previously, to deliver the service within budget, a reduction in the level of residual waste and an increase in the level of recycling is required. Whilst some improvement to recycling rates are being realised, these are not at the level required to deliver the savings in full. LR360 only began operating out of the Southall Lane Waste Depot in November 2017. It is hoped that operating from the depot will improve the efficiency with which the collection service operates, particularly the turnaround time for offloading from the vehicles.
On the expenditure side the budget includes £1,500,000 for the construction of new Education Wildlife centre at Gunnersbury Triangle and £2,500,000 for the construction of new pedestrian footbridge linking under Barnes Bridge.
February 21, 2018