Opposition argues rise needed to fund police, fire safety and travel services
March 5, 2021
Wandsworth Council has agreed budget plans that will see residents’ tax bills rise by an average of £45 this year.
However, it will still remain one of the lowest council tax bills in the country, at just £845.44 a year for a Band D property.
This compares to £1,958.66 for a Band D property in neighbouring Richmond and a whopping £2,056.80 for the same in Kingston.
At a meeting of Wandsworth full council on Wednesday night (March 3) the budget for 2021/22 was passed nearly unanimously with only one abstention.
The council decided to freeze its share of the general council tax, and only increased the Social Care Precept by 3 per cent.
The GLA precept, which is set by the Mayor of London, increased by 9.51 per cent this year.
The Conservative administration brought forward a motion to call upon the Mayor to reverse his decision to increase his portion of this year’s council tax charges, arguing it was unfair and a sign of poor financial management in the Mayor’s office and under a Labour administration.
Cllr Louise Calland, presenting the motion, said, “The last twelve months have been incredibly difficult for everyone and we know from speaking to people right across the borough that many residents are struggling financially, with lockdown having a devastating impact on people’s livelihoods.
“Years of responsible decision making has meant we are in a position to help residents during these uncertain times.”
The Labour opposition agreed that council tax should be kept low but argued the Mayor’s increase in council tax was needed to increase policing and fire safety cut by austerity measures, as well as to fund travel and other services impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
They argued that the Mayor had few other options, and Wandsworth Council itself was facing a shortfall of £9m from the Government and was currently bridging it with its large reserves.
The motion passed, with councillors voting along party lines.
Sian Bayley - Local Democracy Reporter