Wandsworth Council Raise Tax By Maximum Allowed

Bills remain among the lowest in the country

February 19, 2020

Residents in Wandsworth can expect to see their council tax bills go up again they will still be some of the lowest in the country.

Last week Wandsworth Council’s finance committee unanimously supported recommendations for a council tax increase of 1.99 per cent, plus a further 2 per cent for social care. This is the maximum increase allowed with holding a referendum.

This will mean an average extra charge of £17.95 a year for the council services part of the bill, taking the total to £467.75 for an average Band D property.

Combined with the Mayor of London’s proposed increase, this will take the average Wandsworth Band D council tax bill for the year to £799.82.

Despite the increase the total bill is expected to be around half the London average, and one of the lowest in the country. Last year Wandsworth had the second lowest council tax bill in the country, behind Westminster.

Neighbouring Kingston and Richmond Councils were at the other end of the scale, charging £1,870.95 and £1,803.72 for Band D properties.

Opposition finance lead, Cllr Andy Gibbons said Labour were backing the rise to ensure the council can fund services for vulnerable children and adults.

He said, “We want to keep Council tax low, especially when many hard working people are struggling financially. We have previously proposed a freeze in Council tax for the last two years, so under a Labour administration council tax would have been lower.

“Wandsworth has historically benefitted from generous government grants. But this support is coming to an end. We have to prepare for the likelihood that London will be severely impacted by the Conservative government’s proposals for funding local government. This will take money from deprived areas in London and give it to better off areas like Surrey and Buckinghamshire.”

Councillor Rory O’Broin, cabinet member for finance and corporate resources, said: “Wandsworth continues to make sure its residents pay one of the lowest council taxes in London while benefiting from some of the best-run services in the country.

“I’m delighted that we can provide people with value for money while continuing to invest in libraries, parks, roads and housing.”

The report will now be considered at the next council meeting on 4 March where the council will be asked to approve the increase.

Wandsworth has long prided itself as a low-tax borough. It was able to set bills for zero pence for two years running in the early 1990s during the days of the poll tax.

When council tax was introduced in 1993 the borough was able to set an unusually low figure because of government measures aimed at easing the introduction of the new tax.

As one of the few Conservative councils in inner London, it is held up by the party as a model of good governance.

Council tax came into existence from 1 April 1993. It is charged on all domestic properties and is based upon the value of the property as assessed in 1991.

In Wandsworth it is made up of the amount charged by the council, and the amount charged by the Greater London Authority (the mayor’s office) for services across London.

There are also some properties which are subject to an additional charge (commons rate) by the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators.

Residents living near to Wimbledon and Putney Commons and Putney Heath pay a small additional amount to the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators (WPCC) which funds the upkeep of these open spaces.

This ranges from just under £20 for Band A properties to almost £60 for the most expensive Band H properties.

Sian Bayley - Local Democracy Reporter

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