Council tax is going up in South London boroughs.
Greenwich is set to agree on the highest council tax hike in its history this week and Lewisham council rubber stamped its decision to raise council tax by 3.99 per cent at a full council meeting on Wednesday.
Greenwich council agreed last year to raise the Adult Social Care Precept for the 2018/19 budget by three per cent, while a 2.99 per cent council tax rise will be proposed at the full council meeting tomorrow. This rise will see the average Band D house pay an extra £32 a year.
Labour councillors are blaming cuts from central government for forcing their hand, while conservative opposition leaders say more efficiency savings can be made to mitigate the need for a tax hike. Councillor Matt Hartley, leader of Greenwich Conservatives, said: “Labour councillors’ first and last instinct is to raise the council tax by the maximum they can get away with.
“Labour councillors have a duty to make every efficiency saving possible before they dip so far into residents’ pockets. It’s a question of priorities.
“Conservative councillors will be proposing an amendment to the Budget that cuts waste and inefficiency and keeps any Council Tax rise as low as possible.”
Lewisham’s council tax rise will see homeowners pay about £46 extra per year. Mr Archer said: “We have the highest council tax in inner London. In similar authorities like Wandsworth and Southwark –they have lower taxes but are building more homes, have better schools and better local services.
“I understand the budgetary pressures on local authorities, but other nearby councils are managing and charging their residents less.
“The council needs to manage its money better and stop wasting it on things like political advisers, magazine Lewisham Life and £250,000 on the Millwall CPO inquiry.
“If elected Mayor on May 3, I promise to freeze council tax for the first two years.”
The council have earmarked the tax increase to fund social care services for older residents in the borough.
Sir Steve Bullock, Lewisham Mayor, said: “We have frozen council tax for five of the last eight years while providing vital public services for residents and supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our community.
“But the Government’s decision to cut more than 63 per cent of its funding for Lewisham council between 2010 –2020 has left us with no option but to increase council tax.
“But the Government’s budget cuts won’t stop our work to make Lewisham the best place in London to live, work and learn.”
Greenwich council were asked for a comment, but were unable to provide one at the time of going to press.