Wandsworth Set To Freeze Council Tax

Drop in Mayor of London's levy means most bills will fall

Wandsworth Council is set to freeze council tax this year under proposals published today (Wednesday February 19th).

If agreed by councillors on March 5th, Band D bills would be set at £681.77 for 2014/15.  This is around half the London average which is currently more than £1,300.

Because the Mayor of London has announced a decrease in his share of the levy this year annual bills in most Wandsworth homes would be £4 lower than they are today.

Some households in the west of the borough would pay £709.15 for a Band D property because these homes are also subject to the statutory levy imposed by the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators.

Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said: "Despite further falls in Government funding over the coming year this council will continue to provide some of the best services in the country while protecting our residents from a tax increase.

“To achieve this we have restructured the council, further reducing the number of departments from six down to four, cutting back-office costs and making more efficient use of our buildings. Since 2010 the amount we spend on senior staff has been reduced by more than £2m a year.

“More of our work is now being outsourced to achieve better value for money and to harness the expertise, innovation and extra investment outside organiastions can bring to council services.

"These steps have ensured we can freeze council tax while continuing to have some of the best parks and cleanest streets in London as well as weekly bin collections.

“The last year has also given us grounds to look ahead with optimism as local unemployment tumbled by 20 per cent and more new investment flowed into the borough bringing with it new jobs, apprenticeships and more affordable homes. We brought the cycle hire scheme to the north of Wandsworth, secured a huge improvement to our riverbus service and more higher capacity trains are now running on our rail network.

“We also saw great progress with our plan to extend the Northern Line into Battersea and launched our Work Match recruitment service which is helping more unemployed local to people find work and get on in life.

“Since 2010 we have saved £80m from our annual budget. Over the next year our funding will reduce by a further £29mn which we will manage through our on-going market testing programme, the savings our departmental mergers continue to accrue and a relentless drive for new efficiencies.  Because of Wandsworth’s robust financial position we will be able to release £18.5m from our reserves over the next few years  to smooth the funding drop and ease our transition to an even leaner and more efficient council.

“Times will be tough for local authorities while the country continues to pay down its debts. In Wandsworth local people have a council they can trust to rise to the challenge, protect their interests and provide the excellent services they need.”

The council tax report is available to read on the council’s website. It will be considered by the finance and corporate resources overview and scrutiny committee on Wednesday 26th February. The council’s executive group will make a final decision on Monday 3rd March.

February 20, 2014