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Council Tax Expected to Rise

Councillors in Waltham Forest will discuss a proposed council tax rise at their annual budget meeting on 2 March.





They are considering increasing council tax by 1.99% following another significant reduction in the grant from central Government combined with the financial pressures of an ageing population and rising number of school age children. The Government wants local councils to be self-funding through its own business rates and council tax by 2020, shifting the onus of funding directly onto the resident and away from the Government.





The Government has also said there is no new money to pay for the growing adults social care bill, so has introduced an additional element of the council tax charge called the adult social care precept. The Council is proposing to raise this portion of council tax by 3% - but despite this being the maximum allowed, is telling the Government it is nowhere near enough to pay for the growing cost of social care in Waltham Forest.





For residents, once the GLA precept has also been taken into account, this would equate to a proposed overall council tax rise of 4.33%. For an average household living in a Band D property this would mean an extra £1.23 per week.





Council Leader Chris Robbins said: “For six years we were able to keep taxes low, but as you will no doubt be aware the ongoing central Government funding cuts have presented local authorities up and down the country with continued financial pressures.





“If we are to meet the Government’s target of being self-funded by 2020, more difficult decisions lie ahead. However, we remain committed – as we have been throughout this process – to safeguarding the services that you have told us matter most to you and your family.”





The Council has a record of prudent and careful financial management, and continues to make investments now to save money in the future. Since 2010, it has had its income reduced by £100m due to central Government funding cuts.





Despite the financial challenges, over the past 12 months alone, the borough has invested in Lea Bridge Station, making Waltham Forest even better connected, as well as the unveiling of Waltham Forest Feel Good Centre, which is supporting the Council’s public health priorities – and we continue to invest in our much-loved parks and open spaces.





This year, we are building more Council homes and improving existing properties for tenants, investing in our arts, culture and leisure offer to help families get active and enjoy a quality life, and continuing to support our Children and Family Centres and provide school places. We are also lobbying for Whipps Cross to be redeveloped as a state of the art hospital and preparing to open the Walthamstow Wetlands, which will be one of the largest urban wetlands in Europe.




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For out of hours please email media@walthamforest.gov.uk or call 07966 915 157.