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Are the services you value worth an extra 45p per week?

I would say yes. Looking after our most vulnerable children and elderly residents, making sure the bins are collected and maintaining our parks and roads are what we expect our council to deliver, along with many other important services.

That has been increasingly difficult as our funding from central Government is being cut in half. Meanwhile, demand for our services has been spiralling – partly due to our growing and ageing population.

At the same time, we’ve frozen council tax bills for the last six years as we know many of you were feeling the effects of stagnant wages and an ever increasing cost of living.

Coping with these real terms cuts in the money we have to spend on vital services hasn’t been easy, but we’ve worked really hard to minimise the negative impact on you and your family.

We have taken out waste and inefficiency wherever we found it. We are a far leaner organisation than we once were. More services are going online. We are increasingly delivering services with the voluntary sector and other councils.

However, we can only shift a service online or sell a building once. You cannot further reduce a back office support service, which was cut by 40 per cent last year, without affecting the frontline services you receive every day. Our services are working at full capacity.

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has recognised that we need more money to spend on our services – not least to help us support the growing number of older people who rely on us.

Unfortunately, the only option he has left us is a council tax rise.

That is why we are considering changes that would lead to an overall increase of 45p a week for an average ‘Band D’ household.

I and every other councillor now have this really difficult decision to make. We have to balance how much money we need to provide all the services that local people rely on with how much you and your neighbours can afford to pay in your council tax bills.

The 3.99 per cent tax rise we are considering would bring in about £4million a year, if approved. That £4million is relatively small compared to the £117million funding we’ve lost over the last six years. To fully bridge that loss we would have to more than double your council tax. I would never allow that to happen. But I believe 45p per week will be vital in helping to protect the services you rely on.

6 Comments :

Brent Council wrote...
In reply to comment: March 10, 2016 11:35 - Brent Civic Centre has already saved the council millions of pounds in operational costs while providing our residents with a well used community asset. The costs of the building were principally funded by borrowing and the sale of old administrative buildings including Brent Town Hall. This has therefore no impact on our operating budget or services and is at no cost to the council tax payer. The interest payments on the borrowing will be more than offset by the savings we are making by vacating more than 14 buildings, and the efficiency savings and income generated from hiring some of the spaces.
March 21, 2016 09:11
A Resident wrote...
Those plush new council buildings in Wembley need paying for somehow folks. It is up to us to fork out.
March 10, 2016 11:35
Brent Council wrote...
Thanks for the feedback Vivienne – our councillors will certainly think hard before putting up the Council Tax bills. You’re right to suggest that we keep our management costs down – and we have cut those substantially. If you contact us separately with some details of your other issue, we can look into it as appropriate - https://www.brent.gov.uk/your-council/complaints/making-a-general-complaint/
February 16, 2016 11:18
Brent Council wrote...
Thanks for getting in touch Grainne. We do value the feedback we receive, particularly around this important topic and apologies for issues. Please email a contact number and email to webteam@brent.gov.uk so we can contact you back about this.
February 16, 2016 10:50
Grainne Brown wrote...
I alerted Brent Council when I took in a lodger. He moved out in September 2015. My disabled son is at University in Kent, final year. My son has not been able to provide me with documentation that proves he is a full time student. As a result I am still paying full council tax. Not easy on a retired Nurse 's pension. Please advise. I have found your staff on your phone lines spectacularly unhelpful. Otherwise I would be hat to pay a further 45p a week.
February 13, 2016 01:15
I'm all for increasing services for the vulnerable but as I do not receive a 4% salary increase this increase will have a negative financial impact me and my family. Can I suggest that Brent revisit the salary paid to its executive and senior management team to recoup this shortfall. I live in a house on the Chalkhill Estate and currently unhappy with the additionally service charge Metropolitan charges me for a service no provided. The charge is claimed to be an estate charge which I already pay for as part of my council tax. It appears Metropolitan has been overcharging me for the last 10 years. Can you please look into this. Many thanks Vivienne McKoy-Salt
February 6, 2016 06:08

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