|Wandsworth Council Tax to Rise by 3.1%|
Second increase in a decade but rate remains the lowest in the country
Wandsworth Council Tax bills are to rise for the forthcoming financial year by 3.1%
The Council say they are not increasing their portion of the charge but the rate needs to rise because they are passing on increases from other public organisations whose funding makes up part of the bill. This includes the cost of refuse disposal by the Western Riverside Waste Authority.
If agreed by councillors on March 6, bills will go up from April - an overall rise of 3.1 per cent. This represents only the second increase in ten years.
Borough residents pay around half the council tax bills that other Londoners have to pay. Wandsworth’s Band D bill for 2012/13 was £684, compared to a London average of more than £1,300.
Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said: “Our budgets remain under extreme pressure and further action is required if we are to make the necessary savings in the years ahead to ensure we do not increase the financial burden on residents.
“That is why we are also taking steps to slim down the council even further, by reducing senior staff numbers, cutting back-office costs, reducing the amounts spent on running and maintaining office buildings and seeking new efficiencies across all our services.”
The Council has unveiled plans for a major re-organisation of services which could see the number of departments and directors reduced from six to four – which they claim will make it one of the leanest councils in London.
They say they are on course to meet its spending reduction target of £80m by 2014. However the period beyond 2014 requires an additional reduction of £20m – meaning the council will have had to find savings worth £100m over this five year period.
As part of the reorganisation, the council will now be exploring new ways of delivering a far wider range of services in partnership with the private sector.
Cllr Govindia added: “We are continuing to do everything we can to protect frontline services despite the huge savings we are required to make to help pay off the nation’s debt mountain.
“We are proud to have some of the best parks and cleanest streets, proud to be maintaining weekly refuse collections and proud to be keeping all our libraries open.
“We are also proud of the work we are doing to look after our most vulnerable residents properly and we are proud that Wandsworth is a place where people can make the most of their talents, where we are improving our neighbourhoods, creating new jobs, improving transport links and extending educational choice and opportunity.”
And as well as low council tax bills, a new study has revealed that local people also benefit from some of the lowest car and house contents insurance in inner London. That is because Wandsworth is inner London’s safest borough.
The study used price comparison websites to check the cost of insuring both a car and also household contents in Wandsworth, Lambeth, Merton and Hammersmith & Fulham. In virtually all the scenarios the Wandsworth prices came out cheapest – amounting in some cases to a saving of several hundreds pounds a year.
February 19, 2013