Council tax increase of 3.99 per cent agreed

23 February 2016

Councillors have voted for a 3.99 per cent rise in council tax bills, putting Brent among the 86 per cent of councils across the UK, which are set to increase council tax according to a recent poll.


Following a six-year freeze, and in line with Government expectations, the council's share for the bill is set to rise by 3.99 per cent while the Olympic levy has fallen, meaning overall an average 'Band D' household in Brent will pay an extra 45p per week from April.


The decision, which comes after weeks of consultation, was made at last night's Full Council meeting (February, 22) and follows the implication by the Chancellor, George Osborne MP, that many local authorities could not cover the cost of adult social care services from existing budgets.


Rather than providing adequate Government support for services, including care for elderly residents in their own home and support for adults with disabilities or mental health needs, councillors heard from the Leader of the Council how the Chancellor has instead given local councils the option to raise council tax.


Around 86 per cent of authorities are expected to increase council tax, according to research from the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) which was released last week.


Leader of Brent Council, Cllr Muhammed Butt said:


"Councils across the country, including Brent, have made significant savings over recent years and we are now in a situation where councils are no longer properly funded to provide services like caring for our vulnerable and older residents.


"This means that, as well delivering savings, some 86 per cent of councils across the UK are now having to raise bills to help bridge the funding gap."


The council has endured cuts of £117million since 2010 and needs to cut an additional £60million by 2019, leaving critical services exposed. The rise is expected to raise around £4million a year with around a half going towards care for the elderly.


"We will continue to take a more business like approach in planning our finances and providing what local people depend on the most," Cllr Butt added. "This will include adopting a more commercially minded approach and more partnership working with voluntary groups, contractors and residents.


"We will also continue to protect the council tax support scheme for those residents on modest incomes to ensure that those less able to pay council tax continue to be supported."