Council Tax going up 4pc at Tower Hamlets, cabinet voted tonight
- Credit: Archant
Council Tax is going up in London’s deprived East End by four per cent, Tower Hamlets cabinet agreed tonight.
A rise of 3.99pc is proposed from April 1 to help fill a £59 million hole predicted in the council’s budget.
The increase is made up of a 1.99pc rise on the current tax, plus two per cent to help fund social care which Chancellor George Osborne has urged local authorities to do.
A household paying full council tax on a Band D property pays £16.33 a year more from April 1 on top of what they now fork out.
Cuts in government grants, inflation and demographic pressures is opening up a Budget gap of £59m over the next four years, the council forecasts.
The Mayor and Cabinet tonight proposed to set a budget of £358.7m for 2016-17 and agreed Council Tax at £920.85 at Band D.
“We need to address the pressures we face,” Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs told his cabinet this-evening. “Ongoing cuts to local government funding means we need to make tough choices.
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“Revenue from Council Tax will help bridge the gap we face in funding important local services.”
This involves subsidising families on low income and spending more on street cleaning and tackling anti-social behaviour, as well as support for vulnerable people, those looking for work and youngsters going into further and higher education, as well as more cash for adult social care services.
It is the first budget since Labour won the re-run election for Mayor last June which ended five years of Lutfur Rahman’s now-tainted independent administration.
But Biggs, who is also stepping down as London Assembly budget chairman and its member for east London, plans to continue using council funds to help low-pay households in a move started during the Rahman years.
“We remain committed to providing financial support to those on a low income,” he stressed. “This will help protect the most vulnerable and raise awareness about welfare reform.
“There are hard choices ahead, but we must act efficiently and support those in need.”
Tower Hamlets runs a local benefits service to cushion low-income families, which is to continue in 2016.
The proposed 4pc increase goes before the full council at its next meeting, but is certain to go through with a Labour majority supported by some Opposition councillors.
The rise affects more than 83,000 households in what is one of Britain’s most-deprived boroughs. Tower Hamlets currently has the sixth-lowest council tax in London. The last time it went up was in 2009.
The current Band D bill is £1,180.52, including £295 that goes to the GLA. The proposed reduction of £19 on Band D means the average bill from April 1 is being set at £1,196.85, a net rise of 1.38pc.