Hounslow Council Not Ruling Out 5% Tax Hike

Jeremy Hunt's Autumn Statement has given leeway for bigger increases

Previously Council Tax rises were limited to 3% without a local referendum
Previously Council Tax rises were limited to 3% without a local referendum

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Hounslow is not ruling out rising council tax by five per cent following the Autumn Statement. Hounslow’s Council leader has said they are ‘committed’ to making sure residents are supported after Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement last week.

The Chancellor confirmed that local authorities would be able to increase their council tax without asking their residents meaning families may be forced to pay hundreds more each year to help councils fund stretched local services. As the cost of living continues to bite, councils have been told they can raise their tax by as much as five per cent without asking residents

Before, councils would have had to hold a referendum to increase council tax by more than three per cent. Now, councils will be able to increase council tax by three per cent just for budget, plus an additional two per cent to fund social care.

Hounslow Council has said they will wait until after the Local Government Finance Settlement, due in December, to make a decision to rise council tax. Leader of the council, councillor Shantanu Rajawat, has said the council is “committed” to making sure residents are supported.

He said, “Whilst we await the detail of the Council’s funding settlement, expected later in December, we know that any reductions in public funding will stretch already limited resources.

“Like councils across London we are already facing additional cost pressures which were not included in our budget for this year due to much higher inflation and rising prices, and the increase in borrowing costs due to increasing interest rates. These pressures come at a time when demand for our services is on the increase.

“Hounslow has a track record of prudent financial management and will continue to look at ways to balance the books whilst protecting essential services and remaining ambitious in ensuring we create a greener, thriving, healthy and safe borough that people are proud to call home.

“These are difficult economic times, but we know from the pandemic that we can withstand great challenge and I’m confident we will harness all the energies and talents across our brilliant borough to get through the difficult times ahead. As a council we are committed to ensuring people get the support they need.”

Neighbour Ealing Council was similarly unwilling to deny that a 5% increase in council tax was possible next year.

The Autumn Statement did confirm that benefits and pensions will rise in line with inflation. Mr Hunt added that there would be a rise in the national living wage, plus a 12-month extension to the household support fund.

Social housing rent rises will be capped at seven per cent, and average energy bills are set to increase to £3,000 with a rise in the energy price cap from April.

Megan Stanley - Local Democracy Reporter

November 22, 2022

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