Council tax hike planned as service charges set to rise too

Council tax is set to increase for Tower Hamlets residents

Council tax is set to increase for Tower Hamlets residents - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Council tax in Tower Hamlets is set to increase by almost 5 per cent in April, while residents will also face higher charges for services.

The town hall this week heard councillors plan to increase the tax by 1.99 per cent to pay for general services, while an extra 3 per cent will be added for adult social care costs.

The 4.99 per cent increase will add approximately £1.00 per week to bills for the average Band D property.

Parking permits, library fees and tenant services charges will be higher and council housing rents are set to increase by 2.5 per cent, according to the draft budget presented to cabinet on Wednesday.

Free school meals for every primary school child in the borough will be protected. There will also be no changes to the council tax reduction scheme, which means the poorest residents do not have to pay.

Mayor John Biggs said: “This is a period of massive uncertainty for the council. We have faced massive austerity cuts to our budget and that has been a time which has forced us to transform.

“We are still providing a high level of services for local people but there has been quite a lot of pain as well. The Covid crisis has shown us quite how important councils are in our lives and we have been at the forefront of frontline support in the community.”

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He added: “The austerity over the last ten years means we have lost over £200million from our budget since 2010. We have to find another £30million by 2024. Despite that we are putting together a progressive budget, supporting residents in a number of ways.”

Sadiq Khan also today revealed he plans to hike his share of the council tax by almost 10 per cent.

The increase will add an average of £31.59 a year to people’s bills from April.

Mr Khan said the money was needed to safeguard free TfL travel for under 18s and over 60s.

It will also contribute to the cost of additional policing and the implementation of post-Grenfell fire safety improvements.