Ealing Council Tax To Be Frozen For Another Year

Ealing's Cabinet agree on next year's budget priorities

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More money spent on schools, roads, pavements and open spaces, improved street lighting and a freeze on council tax have been agreed by Ealing Council.

The cabinet met on Tuesday (26th November) and approved almost £65million of capital investment over the next four years.

In addition, a further £1.2million will be spent on better street lighting in crime hot spots as well as home safety and gating schemes to protect people’s homes from burglary.

£4million will go towards renewing roads, pavements and more than £4.4million will be spent on sporting facilities at Gunnersbury Park, Perivale Park and Ealing Central Sports Ground.

The lion’s share of the one-off investment funding, £40million, will be used for primary schools expansion to meet the needs of the borough’s growing population. There will also be £3million allocated for grants to improve disabled and older people’s homes.

The transformation of Southall will continue over the next three years with £10million allocated to town centre improvements close to Southall station in readiness for the arrival of Crossrail. Hanwell Station will benefit from the re-opening of pedestrian access on the south side of the station. Improved street lighting and new CCTV will also be installed.

Since 2010 the council says it has has identified and delivered reductions to its day-to-day running costs to meet an updated savings requirement of £87million by April 2015. Further reductions in local government funding are expected to be announced in the government’s autumn spending review in December.

Councillor Julian Bell, leader of the council said: “With the cost of living rising and most household bills rocketing I wanted to reassure residents that council tax will stay the same for the sixth year running. The council, like homes across the borough, is facing tough choices about how we make our money go further and spend it wisely.

“Investing in the borough’s infrastructure makes perfect sense because we need to attract investment to the borough for our long-term prosperity, jobs and economic growth. Providing good quality schools and sporting facilities is also a long term investment in the success and well-being of our community.”

The cost of funding the infrastructure projects has been built in to the council’s financial plans.

Councillor Yvonne Johnson, cabinet member for finance and performance, said: “This is a prudent budget that balances the need to protect residents’ pockets and invest in essential services against a back-drop of on-going cuts to our funding.

“In the past few years the council has faced unprecedented cuts to its government grant which accounts for nearly half of the money we have to spend on running services. The rest of the money is raised through council tax and other income.

“While we have agreed these one-off infrastructure projects now, it is likely that future investment will be on a smaller scale and will be dependent on cuts to our funding.”

Cllr David Millican, Conservative Group Leader said: “The Coalition Government has given Ealing more than £20M to freeze Council Tax for Ealing borough residents.  This freeze in in addition to the  cut from the Mayor of London who has reduced his share of the Council Tax burden for our residents.  I welcome the combined efforts of the Government and the Mayor to help hard working families.

The council tax bill for the average band D household is £1,362.93 per year.

Council tax rates will be set at the meeting of the full council on Tuesday, 25 February 2014.

28 November 2013