Labour Councillors Will Vote To Freeze Council Tax

Council proposes 4.99% increase to invest more in services for elderly and vulnerable

Wandsworth council's Finance and Corporate Resources Committee has supported the recommendations in the annual budget setting report to increase Council Tax by 4.99%, which includes "vital additional funding for social care". However Wandsworth Labour say they will vote to freeze the tax, raising concerns about affordability and claiming the Conservative-led council should manage existing funds more prudently.

The report will now be considered at the next Council meeting on March 6 where the Council will be asked to consider a council tax increase of 2.99 per cent, plus the further 2 per cent targeted for social care. This will mean an average extra charge of £21.38 a year, "with Wandsworth residents still continuing to benefit from one of the lowest council tax bills in the country. In contrast, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is proposing to increase his share of council tax by 8.9 per cent (compared with the council increase of 4.99 per cent), meaning his precept will rise by £26.28 a year".

This takes Wandsworth’s overall average Band D council tax bill for the entire year to £770.31 - of which £320.51 is payable to the Mayor.

Cllr Guy Senior

Councillor Guy Senior, Cabinet member for Finance and Corporate Resources said: “For decades we have worked hard to make sure that our residents have paid one of the lowest council taxes in London and yet benefited from record investment in roads, libraries and housing. We have managed to keep Council Tax low and at the same time deliver some of the best-run local government services in the country.

“We pledge to continue to offer our residents fantastic services and value for money. We are also making sure we protect the vital social care services that many of our elderly residents, or those who are sick or vulnerable, rely on so heavily.

“This increase also supports our local carers who are important to our communities. We want to make a real difference to the quality of life for our residents and those people who need a bit of extra support.”

Cllr Simon Hogg

However, Councillor Simon Hogg, leader of Wandsworth Labour told this website that the tax should not be raised, he accused the Council of overspending: “We’ll vote to freeze council tax this year, as it’s not fair to ask families who are struggling to pay more. Council tax is a hugely unfair tax. And it only covers 5% of the the council’s budget.

“The Conservative Council has failed to manage the budget - they’ve ran out of money and continue overspending. Despite a £17million budget increase, Children’s Services are expected to overspend a further £3.5million this year - despite still offering failing services. Once again, the Tory Council is not listening to residents across Wandsworth. This is a great place to live but we need more affordable housing, a fair wage for all of our workers and cleaner, greener streets.”

Despite the increase, the Council says the overall Wandsworth total is still expected to be around half the London average.

The report also shows that the council benefited from a record £12.932 million new homes bonus payment in 2018/19 in reward for supporting new housing delivery in the borough. And this funding is expected to go up to £12.953 million in 2019/20 – the second highest in the country.

Cllr Senior added: “This money is a result of Wandsworth’s strong record on delivering new homes and another example of how we are working hard to keep Council Tax low.”

February 16, 2019