Council Tax Freeze Thaws

The recent years of no or very low increases to Council Tax are over. Residents in the Borough are now seeing bills land on their doormats for increases of around 3.5% as Council budgets come under pressure from cuts to the funding received from central government. With bills frozen from 2009 to 2015 and with a modest increase last year, the new charges mark a big change. Our Dear Leaders at El Brute have said that cuts in these government grants mean that savings of £31m need to be found to cover the shortfall in order to maintain vital services but increasing Council Tax forms part of the plan too. For a Band D property the hike will average out at 3.55%, comprising 3.99% for Richmond’s own council tax and 1.46% towards the Greater London Authority.

A Council Tax pictured recently

LBRuT Deputy Leader, Big Sam (that’s Geoffrey Samuel not Sam Allardyce btw), said “With unprecedented Government cuts to our funding, and increased pressure on social care, it simply isn’t feasible to freeze the tax any more. We now need to find a new way to deliver future services, working more collaboratively with our residents and partners.  This will take time. The only way we can cover the costs of vital services for the next year is to raise Council Tax and the adult social care precept”.  Some of the savings will continue to flow from the merger of Richmond and Wandsworth Councils’ operations functions, others are no doubt ‘tbc’.

The seat of El Brute power

The rise comes at a time when business rates continue to cause concern for many local traders and when newly announced National Insurance increases for the self-employed will add financial pressure to many already feeling the pinch.

So, are you happy that El Brute says it is raising Council Tax to protect important services or hacked off that you’re facing an above inflation rise after years of stable bills? Err, or both at the same time maybe?

LINKS:
* LBRuT Press Release
* LBRuT Council Tax Page

18 Comments

Filed under Council, Local Issues & News

18 responses to “Council Tax Freeze Thaws

  1. Has anyone from LBRuT actually asked the people of Richmond & Twickenham, if they can afford a Tax increase. So where do they think the money will from? Wages have in real terms been stagnant since 2001, so how will people pay this increase see: https://www.ft.com/content/16662297-2067-3289-81bf-95da91628fbc

    Of course to the well-off this will be of little concern and they will just want to know where their money is being spent, but it is a matter of fact that these price rises across all Taxes, utility bills, train fares, food etc etc cannot keep increasing, without a similar level of wage increase, including allowing for inflation, or eventually people will not be able to afford to live!!.

  2. Anonymous

    Spelthorne have increased their Council Tax every year Unlike Richmond and Hounslow, now this year its an increase of 4.3%

  3. A. Robot (Mrs)

    Grudging respect:
    ‘Two Conservatives voted with the opposition in favour of the Lords amendment on EU nationals tonight. They were Alex Chalk and Tania Mathias.’

  4. Paul

    I accept that we have to pay higher council taxes to protect services. The big increase has been caused by a massive reduction in grant given by central government.

    However, I feel that the council’s approach in not gradually raising the tax in the past couple of years in anticipation of the known loss of the grant was wrong. The council would have had a reserve this year and the rise would not have been so sharp.

    I do worry that the worsening cash flow of the council will mean that there will be a reduction in social care and that important services, but not considered essential, like libraries and grants to voluntary groups will be cut.

    My view is similar to that of the Swedes. I’m happy to pay reasonably high taxes to get good public services. Sadly I fear the public will be paying more and more and getting less and less.

    • Sally

      I agree. No problem at all paying more-but want to have confidence it will go towards good public services. And our local services are in a terrible state.
      Services for the disabled are being viciously slashed. In the last couple of weeks one excellent activity group for local disabled young people has been closed with no notice. Disabled services are hiking up their selection criteria ever higher and culling their client lists so that services are now confined to the very most severely disabled. Any disabled person so removed is directed to a series of short term generic services, after which they are, presumably, cured. If you see unhappy disabled people being led about charity shops by bored workers, this is why. They have nowhere to go anymore. And it’s the lucky ones who have family to argue for the funding who even have that little .
      It would be wonderful to think that the increase will lead to the reinstatement of assistance for the most vulnerable, the cleaning of the filthy streets etc etc.. The problem is that if no deficiency is admitted (“our streamlined services continue to do a superb job”) the refunding of slashed services is not a priority.

  5. David2

    After so many years of council tax freezes, it should not come as a surprise that they are now being raised again. I simply hope that the increased revenue is targeted at those that need it most.

  6. David

    I’d quite happily see it raised further if it meant mitigating the centrally imposed cuts to the funding of the borough’s schools

  7. twickerman

    Well, at least we’ve got good value from the £200k or so spent on Twickenham Riverside concepts and consultations. Oh, hang on a minute…

  8. Anonymous

    With the number of new flats built in the borough over recent years, it would be interesting to see how much extra revenue the council now gets. They don’t seem to be spending on infrastructure

  9. Ted

    How much was spent on those fancy new pavements that now look so vile?

  10. Queby

    I keep getting emails asking me to take part in various questionnaires about a ‘village plan’. Is this really important enough to spend money on and employ people to manage? I sometimes think these initiatives are dreamt up to give council staff something to do!!

  11. Anonymous

    Our daughter’s school have just asked every family to contribute £300 a year to cover their shortfall in funding – a 3.55% council tax rise pales in comparison to the new stealth school tax!!

  12. Anonymous

    More than likely there will be less money in Govt. coffers and thanks too,tp Brexit which our council support. So have they shot themselves and us in the foot ?

  13. Al Storer

    No not at all happy.
    Richmond Council have practically outsourced all services to other authorities ie. Wandsworth, Kingston, Merton. So what was the point?
    Instead of employing staff to work on their idea of changing cultures those staff should get on with the job in hand ie. focusing on the needs of residents and within our own Borough.
    Richmond have outsourced services along with all the attendant problems and now buy back in. Somebody somewhere is making a profit here and it is not the ratepayers.

    • Al Storer

      Additionally the numbers of council employees working from the Twickenham offices has been sufficiently depleted enough to have s marked effect upon local traders who previously relied upon the footfall during off work hours ie. lunchtimes/eateries.
      Twickenham has become a ghost town.

    • illiad1

      Al Storer:
      I think is is mass ‘overselling’ by over hopeful estate agents…their customers are told that there is ‘high footfall’ ‘very popular area’, and all those phrases just to make a sale… Then a few months later find that their produce is just not selling, not that many rich people about, or don’t bother to look, just use internet…

      and it is not cheap to rent here… 😦

    • whiteknight

      May I point out that the Leader of the LibDems was quoted as saying that this rise in Council Tax should have been greater. You literally “pays yer money and makes yer choice “