All of the increase to be spent on adult social care
February 4, 2021
Wandsworth Council has announced it will freeze part of next year’s council tax having earlier consider the maximum increase of 4.99%
This Thursday (4 February) the council said it will freeze the general element of council tax for the next year, and only allow an increase in the social care element, which will go up by three per cent.
This will mean an average extra charge of £14.03 a year for a Band D property, leaving Wandsworth residents with some of the lowest council tax bills in the country.
Council leader, Ravi Govindia, said, “Wandsworth has a long and proud history of having the lowest council tax, not only in London but the UK. For decades our residents have benefited from this and we have managed to deliver excellent quality services for the best value – making Wandsworth a special place to live.
“Years of hard work and prudent financial management have allowed us to do this and I’m now delighted to say that because of the strong building blocks we have in place, Wandsworth is in the position to be able to do the best for its residents by freezing its share of the general council tax charge for the next financial year.
“We recognise the impact that COVID is having on our residents, many of whom may be struggling financially for the first time. This is the single most effective thing we can do to help the largest number of people.”
The council is also planning to set up a new charitable trust to take donations from higher band council tax payers and others, should they want to contribute a little bit more to help those who may be financially worse off.
The council tax recommendations will go to the Finance, Resources and Climate Sustainability Committee next week before being finalised at the next full council meeting on 3 March.
Cllr Govindia said, “We have seen throughout the pandemic just how important our social care services have been and this we will continue to support all our carers who are so important to our communities and make a real difference to people’s lives particularly during these difficult times.”
At this Wednesday’s full council meeting (3 February) councillors voted against a full freeze on council tax this year.
Labour councillor Andy Gibbons asked for an adjournment debate on the issue to request that the council writes to the Prime Minister calling for funding for a freeze on council tax for residents this year
Cllr Gibbons argued that the government has left a large gap in council finances, resulting in a “Covid-tax” and a “devolution of austerity.”
Cabinet member for finance, Cllr Rory O’Broin said Wandsworth was responsible for deciding its own council tax and would not support the motion.
He criticised the Labour group for an unclear position on council tax – with national party leader Sir Keir Starmer arguing there should be no increase, while London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, is proposing a hike in his share of council tax for Londoners.
Sian Bayley - Local Democracy Reporter