Friday 6 January 2012

Council tax rise ruled out before budget consultation

The leader and deputy leader of Brent Council are due to tour Area Consultative Forums later this month to discuss the forthcoming 2012-13 budget which will be voted on at a later Council meeting.

However according to the current Brent and Kilburn Times the Council has already pledged to freeze council tax. The possibility of raising the council tax was included in the November Budget Report as I reported at the time HERE

The Council gets a £2.5m government grant for freezing the tax and Cllr Ann John told the BKT it would be put into emergency balances. The budget report had warned that the long-term impact of not raising the council tax would erode the council's revenue position.

The report said that a rise of 2.5% in council tax would close the budget gap as follows:

2012-13 £4.4m
2013-14 £1.1m
2014-15 £19.7m
2015-16 £13.1m

In other words a rise of 2.5% in council tax this year would result in a net gain when the loss of the £2.5m grant is taken into consideration. Some councils are considering this option and some Labour councillors in Brent thought it worthy of debate. However that option appears to have been ruled out in advance of both consultation and decision making.

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