Council Tax To Rise Again This Year In Hounslow Borough

Council says it is forced to bring in almost 5 per cent increase due to funding cutbacks

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Another rise in Council tax is on the way for Hounslow borough residents this year with a nearly 5 per cent increase included in the forthcoming budget, the maximum allowed for a Council to impose and the second increase in two years.

At the next Borough Council meeting on 26 February, the Council will be asked to consider an increase in Council Tax of 2.99% for 2019/20, plus a further 2% social care precept.

This increase will add an extra £58.27 for a typical Band D property (excluding the Greater London Authority precept). The social care precept is ringfenced to protect adult social care services for the most vulnerable families from further cuts.

Hounslow Council says it is effectively losing about £9m compared with 2018 in real terms.

Last February (20 February 2018) councillors agreed a four per cent rise for 2018/19. This added an extra £44.91 for a typical Band D property (excluding the Greater London Authority precept). Half of this was ringfenced to protect services for the most vulnerable families from further cuts. At that time the Council said it had to reduce spending by £27.4m to balance the books in 2018/19

Cllr Shantanu Rajawat, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services, Hounslow Council, said today( February 5th); " Continuing financial pressures as a result of significant continuing austerity and cuts to the council’s budgets by the Government have meant that Council Tax in Hounslow is recommended to rise this year to protect essential services. With the cessation of the Revenue Support Grant from Government to Hounslow and Business Rate Growth retention reducing from 100% to 75%, Hounslow Council is effectively losing about £9m compared with 2018 in real terms.

“Yet again, we are in a position where difficult decisions have to be made on where to prioritise resources, while delivering the priorities of our residents and businesses and minimising the impact on services as much as possible. This is made even more difficult as we need to ensure we provide services for our growing and aging population.

“Despite implementing savings and efficiencies over the last eight years to protect frontline services, the ongoing cuts to our budgets puts even more pressure on our capacity to provide essential services. The recent Local Government Financial Settlement has confirmed that Hounslow will face further cuts in funding in the coming years.”

Cllr Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, added: “For so many families in the borough, trying to make ends meet has been a struggle for several years. Unfortunately, this is the same for the public sector as Government cuts are hitting council finances badly, which means we’re having to make some difficult choices about how we spend money.

“Hounslow has a prudent approach to financial management and there are robust plans in place to ensure we live within our means. As in any well-run organisation, we will keep a firm lid on spending and ensure our services are being run as efficiently as possible, so they deliver value-for-money.

“Public services are still in a period of austerity, and the challenge of continuing to provide services in the face of declining budgets remains, but I can assure you that we will continue to invest in the priorities that matter to our residents.”

He added that it should be remembered that Hounslow’s Council Tax was not increased between 2006 and 2016 and was in fact cut by 0.5% in both 2013 and 2014.

Cllr Rajawat continued: “We will continue to invest in the services and priorities that are important to residents and make savings where we can. We want to improve services, deliver better value for money and to make our borough a better place for us all to live and work in.

“We also remain committed to our Council Tax Support scheme which helps our residents in most need with a discount of up to 100% of their Council Tax bill.”

February 5, 2019

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