Tuesday 14 February 2023 17:53
Cash-strapped Londoners are in for a slight boost, as news broke the region is set to raise average council tax rates by the second lowest amount in the UK.
Of the councils that have declared their council fees for 2022-23, London’s boroughs collectively came second from bottom of the list, with an increase of 4.4 per cent.
However, Croydon Council, which filed for bankruptcy for the third time in November, has been given special permission to raise its taxes by a “staggering” 15 per cent.
The news follows a protest after Mayor Sadiq Khan announced plans to increase the City Council’s share of bills by almost 10 per cent, adding an extra £38.55 to average bills to fund fire brigade and the Met.
Excluding Croydon, London’s average bill will rise by £84 (5%) from £1,696 to £1,780. But fees vary wildly by borough, with Kingston charging residents £2,122 versus Westminster’s generous £872.
Average rates for the east of England will rise by 4 percent, with London and the West Midlands at 4.4 percent, and the northwest at 4.5 percent, County Councils Network statistics revealed.
North East residents will see an average increase of 4.6 per cent, compared with 4.7 per cent in Yorkshire and 4.8 per cent in the West and East Midlands and South East.
Taxpayers in the Southwest will see the steepest increase of an average of 4.9 percent.
So far some 17 London boroughs have declared their plans, with Barking & Dagenham, Enfield, Greenwich, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Islington, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Newham and Redbridge announcing increases of 4.99 per cent. hundred. .
However, Brent and Haringey will increase bills by 2.99 per cent compared to just 2 per cent at Tower Hamlets and Westminster.
Current government restrictions mean councils can only vote to raise residents’ bills by a maximum of 4.99 percent, including a 2 percent welfare tax, without holding a referendum.
Elliot Keck, of the Taxpayers Alliance, warned: “Rising council tax bills are the last thing struggling households need.
“Councils need to crack down on waste before taking on residents.”
James Jamieson of the Local Government Association (LGA) said the increases would help councils “deal with inflationary cost pressures” but were not a “long-term solution”.
He urged the government to agree to a long-term funding plan for local councils rather than repeat one-year cash deals that “hinder financial planning and sustainability.”
The City Council has been contacted for comment.