Croydon has made plans to increase council tax by 1.85 per cent, while Lewisham will propose a 1.75 per cent increase in a council meeting to be held this evening.
Conservative-led Croydon is going close to the 2 per cent boundary, despite a requirement for billing authorities to hold a referendum if they surpass that percentage.
Councillor Mike Fisher, the Conservative leader of Croydon Council, defended his decision to increase tax: “As the government reductions continue to bite we need make this modest increase in council tax in order to protect the frontline services that are important to local people, and to invest in the future of our borough.”
The borough’s council, however, has been criticized this week after revealing the rise that breaks their 2010 election promise. The 1.85 per cent rise in tax will cost residents an additional 34p per week – £17.56 per year for Band D properties.
The Croydon Conservatives website suggests that the rise is lower than it at first appears: ” coupled with the Mayor of London’s proposed 1.2 per cent reduction in the GLA precept, gives an overall 1.2 per cent rise.”
Lewisham Mayor Sir Steve Bullock has recommended an “inevitable” tax rate increase of 1.75 per cent that will be discussed in more detail in a meeting later this evening.
Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has given boroughs that freeze council tax this year a one per cent funding incentive. Only two of the ELL boroughs have accepted the offer. Tower Hamlets is to freeze council tax for the fourth year in a row, with Hackney following suit, deciding to not increase tax for the eighth consecutive year.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, explained that the decision to freeze council tax “is one way we can leave more money in our residents’ pockets.’’
A spokesperson from Hackney Council said: “We will not be putting council tax up – it will remain frozen.”
|Borough||Council Tax for band D properties|
|Lewisham||£1372.44 (increased £23.60)|
|Croydon||£1167.75 (increased £17.64)|
|Tower Hamlets||£1192.24 (frozen)|
By Courtney Greatrex