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Council tax levels, partygate and social car to be deciding factors

An LTN in Acton among many that have been reviewed. Picture: David Hawgood


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Council tax increases and national issues are likely to be the deciding factors in the upcoming London local elections ahead of things such as Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, according to a new survey.

Polling conducted by Savanta and the Centre for London thinktank found that 46 per cent of those surveyed in the capital ranked council tax as their top local election priority, closely followed by national issues such as the partygate scandal (36 per cent) and the quality of local social care services (30 per cent).

More than half of London’s 33 borough councils raised their share of council tax by 2.99 per cent earlier this year – the maximum increase allowed by the Government without requiring a referendum.

Along with the increase to the Mayor of London’s portion of council tax paid by Londoners, the average council tax bill in most boroughs has risen by around £70 a year.

While council tax was identified as the top priority for voters heading to the polls in May, Centre for London’s survey found that controversial issues such as Low Traffic Neighbourhoods were less likely to be a top priority.

Just 12 per cent of those surveyed ranked traffic control measures as a key priority likely to sway their vote.

Nick Bowes, chief executive of Centre for London, said that while the issue of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods is a “polarising” one, it “doesn’t appear to hold much overall sway on how people will be voting”.

Mr Bowes said: “However hard local parties campaign on local issues, council elections have never just been about bin collections, parking, schools and potholes. Often, they become a proxy for a referendum on the party in government nationally. That’s why our polling is fascinating, as it shows Londoners place the most significance on how much council tax they pay when it comes to who they’ll vote for in the coming elections in May.

“It is also a stark reminder of how many people are feeling the squeeze on their incomes because of the sharp rise in the cost of living. London’s poorest households already face the increasing cost of heating their homes and travelling around the city, with rising council tax clearly at the forefront of people’s minds.”

Joe Talora - Local Democracy Reporter

April 17, 2022