Controversial or celebratory: our candid update on Council Tax changes

Horton and Garton cover three boroughs so depending on your postcode you might be celebrating or sighing in reaction to the changes to your council tax. Here’s the update from King Street and Turnham Green Terrace…

A row of toy houses with a Hammersmith and Fulham council tax bill underneath

H&F Council Tax Remains The Third Lowest In The Country

Director John Horton notes, “Hammersmith and Fulham residents can breathe a sigh of relief. Despite mounting pressure from the government, H&F Council is the only one in London to cut and freeze council tax over the last four years.

Instead of passing the buck to local residents, Leader of H&F Council Stephen Cowan says, “We’re reforming every aspect of the way our council operates, to modernise and improve services and put money back in our residents’ pockets. That’s how we’ve been able to freeze council tax bills while also funding more local police officers than ever before, abolishing charges for adult social care in 2014 and reducing the majority of council charges in real terms.

Government funding cuts put unprecedented pressure on local services, particularly on care for elderly and disabled residents, but it is exactly those people who are hit hardest by council tax rises.” John says, “H&F bills will remain the third lowest in the country – a significant accomplishment for our local leaders that means real savings to local residents.”

This is great news for local residents and those interested in buying a property or letting a property in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

Council Tax Rises For Ealing and Hounslow

Ealing Council and Hounslow Councils have both raised council tax – Ealing by 5.99% (2.99% increase plus £5 social tax levy) and Hounslow by over 4% (2% increase plus 2% social tax levy). Chiswick Director Paul Cooney comments, “When you do the maths the disparity is vast. The real difference in the cost of council tax between the boroughs is as much as 43%.”

For Hounslow, it’s the second increase in council tax in the past twelve years. A report regarding the increase notes, “The implications of the government’s public expenditure plans and the local authority finance settlement are severe for Hounslow’s budget and the provision of services.” The new waste collection service, Lampton Recycle 360, has not been able to deliver within budget and the service is expected to overspent by approximately £2.7m. Hounslow’s budget includes expenditure for key Chiswick projects: £1.5m for the construction of a new Wildlife Education Centre at Gunnersbury Triangle and £2.5m for the construction of a new pedestrian footbridge beneath Barnes Bridge.

Funding Cuts Mean An Inevitable Rise In Council Tax For Some Boroughs

Ealing Council is under significant pressure to find £56m in savings by 2021 in order to balance its budget with £17m in reductions already agreed. Proposals include staff redundancies and stopping a public health advice service for those quitting smoking but the remaining deficit is significant and more cuts will be required. Council leader Julian Bell says, “We promised to keep council tax as low as possible for as long as possible and we have done this. The unrelenting cuts from central government and increasing demand on our services means that we, like an estimated 95% of councils in the country, have no option (but to increase council tax).” The rising costs of child protection services and adult social care put the Councillors under pressure to find further funds to meet these needs.

Bell adds, “I am proud that we are continuing to meet our duty towards our most vulnerable residents and I am not prepared to stand back and watch over decline. This is why we are pushing forward with an ambitious transformation programme called Future Ealing. Its aim is to improve outcomes for local people at a time of drastically reduced budgets by rethinking how we operate and focusing on the areas that matter the most to residents. It is also about growing our income in as many ways as we can to try and offset the rise in demand for our services and the unrelenting austerity cuts that have been imposed on us since 2010.” Local Conservatives argue that departmental overspends, failure to make savings, “millions wasted on vanity projects” while “increasing their own allowances” are the underlying issues.

We’ve created a real comparison of the cost of council tax for 2018/2019 across our three boroughs below:

A graph showing Hammersmith and Fulham Council Tax frozen at £1022.04 per year

Council Tax for Band D inclusive of GLA
H&F: £1022.04
Hounslow: £1461.99
Ealing: £1440.12

43% difference between H&F & Hounslow
£ difference between H&F & Hounslow: £439.95

40.9% difference between H&F & Ealing
£ difference between H&F & Ealing: £418.08

1.51% difference between Ealing & Hounslow
£ difference between Hounslow & Ealing: £21.87

Are you looking to buy, sell or let a property in Hammersmith, Chiswick or Shepherds Bush? No one knows our patch like we do! Contact our friendly team of experts today.