Hounslow Opts for Maximum Council Tax Increase
Annual bill for householders to rise by more than 3%
Hounslow Council’s budget proposals include the maximum allowed increase in Council Tax. It plans to increase the charge to householders by 2.99% which includes 1% specifically for social care. Combined with the increase in the Mayor’s proportion of the tax this means that most bills will increase by over 3%
This will mean the annual case for a home in valuation Band D will be £1,774,18 made up of £1,378.59 of Hounslow Council Tax and £395.59 of the Mayoral precept. Even with the increase the borough’s tax rate remains below the national average.
The council says the rise to help cover the cost of rising inflation and significant additional demand in some services such as children’s social care and provision for those with special educational needs. This is in keeping with expected rises across the country due to pressures on local authority finances and services. More than two thirds of local authorities have made the decision to raise the charge by the maximum amount.
The provisional local government finance settlement for Hounslow is up by 5.9% for 2022/23 but this is predicated on the assumption that Council Tax will rise by the maximum. Hounslow has also benefited from additional resource through increases in social care grant and a new service grant for 2022/23 of £2.6m and £3.4m respectively. However, these grants are an annual allocation meaning there is no guarantee they will be available in future years.
The budget gap before the tax rise is £6,899,000 but the additional grants and the money raised from the tax rises allows the budget to be balanced.
Costs have been increasing in education particular in special needs where the deficit by the send of the current year is expected to be £18.8million. The council says that plans for recovery have been developed.
The budget will be considered at the next Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 8 February, with recommendations going forward to be discussed at a meeting of the full council on Tuesday 1 March.
The leader of Hounslow Council, Councillor Steve Curran, said, “As widely reported, Hounslow’s economy was one of the worst affected in London during the pandemic. We’ve been proud to keep essential support and services running, whilst managing the pandemic response and helping in a range of other ways – for example, supporting 1,000 local business through the crisis and more than £1 million has been invested in the local economy through the council’s ShopLocal initiative.”
Hounslow Council is planning to invest £850,000 in its innovative Community Solutions programme. Established in 2021, the scheme aims supports residents with financial advice, information on keeping healthy and mental health support.
Councillor Shantanu Rajawat, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services, said, “We are committed to making Hounslow a fairer, greener and stronger borough – focusing on four key pillars, Adult Social Care; Children Social Care; Safer Communities and the Environment. However, we need to continue to do this in a way that is both ambitious and financially responsible.
“With inflation jumping to the highest level in 30 years, we need to be financially prudent when focusing on
Hounslow Council has a Council Tax Support Scheme in place to support residents struggling financially, which can be accessed here.
The Council also offers flexible payments; information on how to pay can be found here.
February 1, 2022