Friday 9 February 2018

Brent Council Tax to rise by £71 to £1,496.54 for Band D

The Cabinet will approve a 5.01% Council Tax rise at Monday's Meeting will is expected to be rubber-stamped by Full Council.  The report going before Cabinet states:

The provisional local government finance settlement unexpectedly increased the ‘referendum limit’ for council tax from two to three per cent and, like last year, the Government’s financing assumption was that all councils would act on this. The rules on increasing council tax for the social care precept were unchanged. This means that the council could choose to increase council tax by up to 5% in 2018/19 without the need for a referendum, of which 2% would be ring-fenced for adult social care (the social care precept). The previous intention was to raise council tax by 4% in 2018/19, which at the time of the February 2017 Council report was the maximum permitted by the legislation. 

Taking into account the inflationary pressures that the council is subject to (which Ministers have confirmed were a significant factor in their decision to increase the referendum limit), the financial position in the round and the results of consultation through the Brent Connects and other meetings held by the date of despatch of this report leading Members have instructed officers to prepare the budget on the basis of a 4.99% increase in the Brent element of the council tax. The Mayor of London has announced plans for an increase in his precept of 5.07% (slightly different rules on the limits for the GLA apply due to its role as the police authority) making the overall increase in council tax 5.01%. This equates to £1,496.54 at Band D, or the equivalent of £28.78 per week, and the overall increase equates to £1.37 per week.  

The Council's Budget Counsultation via Brent Connects Meetings drew a very thin response, not helped by being conducted in the winter months. Only 114 residents attended in total and only one business association  responded according to the briefing just posted on the Council's website:
Five consultation events were planned between January and February 2018 at locations throughout the borough. At the date of the Cabinet meeting on 12 February 2018 four out of five meetings were held and had the following levels of attendance: 

17 January
Brent Connects Wembley
30 January
Brent Connects Kilburn
6 February
Brent Connects Willesden
8 February
Brent Connects Kingsbury & Kenton
19 February
Brent Connects Harlesden

1.2  At the four meetings attended at the time of dispatch either the Leader or Deputy Leader of the Council delivered a presentation outlining the overall financial position and the difficult budget choices faced by the Council. The Leader then took questions from the audience and provided answers, supported by senior officers where appropriate for matters of technical detail. 

1.3  Feedback and opinions offered from these events varied considerably. As an example of the range of opinions expressed: 

 One resident asked how the proposals affect Brent’s Council Tax Support Scheme. The question was answered at the meeting, that the scheme will not be changing. 
One resident asked if the proposals have impacted on school performance. The question was answered at the meeting, that 96% of schools in Brent are good or outstanding. 

 Other points raised were generally questions of clarification rather than specific feedback on the budget proposals. For example, one resident made a statement of support for the funding provided to families with no recourse to public funds, whereas another asked about the budget used to support people with dementia. 

 A number of queries were raised about the council’s reserves and how we compare to other London Boroughs, which were answered at the meeting. The Council has relatively low reserves compared to other London boroughs but current level is deemed adequate. 
1.4  Feedback and views from the final meeting to be held on 19 February 2018 will be provided for the Full Council meeting on 26 February 2018.
Business Consultation
1.5  Consultation with local Brent businesses was carried out by writing to the following organisations:
                  West London Business (a non-profit business leadership forum),
                 The Federation of Small Businesses, 

                 The Town Centre Business Association, and 

                 The Business Board. 

1.6  At the date of dispatch one response was received, which asked for further clarification on the budget setting process rather than a specific comment on the budget proposal.


Scott said...

The problem I have with Labour continuing to raise council taxes, is they are ineffective at managing the money they do have sustainably. They then go to us for a bailout & put more pressure upon the pockets of struggling families.

Paul Lorber said...

The so called consultation at Wembley was a joke. No mention was made of the fact that Council Tax would rise by 5%. Cllr Butt simply referred to the 1% extra the Government easing of the cap and that this would cost £12 per year at band D. At 5% the Brent Labour rise is the highest for more than 10 years and means that over the 4 year term the cumulative rise in the Brent element of the Council Tax is around 20%. What is often overlooked of course that Brent also raises various charges and these are not mentioned - so for example the cost of Nurseries is going up 10%, the cost Burials also by 10% (a Brent Council plot now costs over £3,500), copying in Brent Libraries doubles to 20p per copy, Parking Permit charges are going up again as of course if the cost of the Garden Bin collection - it used to be free but now will cost £60 per year for fewer collections. And of course there is is the charge for bulky items. What local residents need to be aware of is that while the Council Tax is going up on top of all of this more new charges are being introduced by the Council and these too are going up every year - in most cases by very much more than the rate of inflation. So while Labour nationally express concern about the squeeze on working peoples' pockets locally it is Labour Councillors who put the boot in.

Anonymous said...

keep rising tax yet brent is still shithole