Massive Council Tax Hike For Ealing's Empty Property Owners

And further increases for all as council tax likely to be increased by nearly 3%

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Hundreds of property owners in Ealing could be faced with massive bills in the future due to proposals to double their council tax.

If plans get the go ahead people with empty houses or flats - currently there are 346 properties in the borough that have been empty for more than two years - will have to pay 100% more tax than they do now.

At a meeting of the council’s cabinet last night, (Tuesday, 12 February) councillors also warned they have little choice but to put up core council tax by 2.99%.

Councillor Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council, said: “After nine years of ongoing cuts many councils are on the brink of bankruptcy and austerity is far from over.

“We spend roughly £7million pounds a month on social care, yet the increase in core council tax would only give us about £3.6million pounds to cover the whole year – which helps to explain the scale of our financial challenge. We have been doing all we can to protect frontline services. But, with just 36p remaining of each pound we used to get in government funding, we, like other councils, have no choice but to take some painful decisions to make ends meet.”

To help reduce the council’s budget gap from £57million the council has reviewed how it spends its money and says as well as making efficiency savings including cutting back-office functions and tiers of management and by changing some services, it will be able to agree a budget that includes £24million of savings.

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for finance and leisure, said: “We know that having a decent home is essential to improving people’s life chances which is why we have made it the council’s top political priority. I think, like me, most residents will think it is wrong that homes are being left empty so that investors can make money while others have no choice but to live in temporary accommodation.

“Given the depth of government cuts to our funding, we are having to redesign our services to make sure we are focussed on helping those most in need of our support. Over the summer around two-thirds of residents we spoke to at Ealing Summer events said they would like to do something good in their community and I’d encourage all residents who want to help make Ealing better to visit”

Of the money raised through residents’ council tax bills, around 20% goes to the Greater London Authority to pay for the Metropolitan Police, the London Fire Brigade, Transport for London and other services, and projects managed by the GLA. The Mayor of London’s share of council tax bills, known as the precept, is expected to rise to £320.51 for Band D taxpayers, an increase of 50p per week.

If the proposal is agreed at the meeting of the full council on 26 February, anyone with a property empty for two years or more would see their bill double from 1 April 2019

13th February 2019

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