|Hounslow Pledges Budget Cut In Council Tax Rate|
The half per cent cut is the second in two years
Hounslow Council has pledged to cut Council Tax for another year.
The Leader of Hounslow Council, Cllr Jagdish Sharma, announced last night (Tuesday 28 January) that the Council intends to cut the rate of council tax by a further half a per cent in its budget for 2014/15.
The half per cent cut announced is the same as the cut in council tax last year, making a total of one per cent in two years.
Councillors were told at the meeting that the Council had made savings of £60 million from the budget but the scale of cuts in years to come would be a major challenge.
The cut proposal is one of the few to be announced by any council in the country, said Hounslow. It comes a year after an initial cut of half a per cent and a six-year freeze in council tax. As an example:
Cllr Sharma told councillors at last night’s (Jan 28) meeting of the borough council that the reduction in tax would again provide a little extra for families who are finding the cost of living a struggle.
He said: “For so many families in Hounslow, particularly in the wake of welfare reforms and the so-called ‘bedroom tax’, the struggle to make ends meet is becoming a battle.
“We understand this and that is why we are committing to cut council for the second time, meaning a reduction of 1 per cent over the past two years.
“Thanks to our sensible and measured approach to dealing with the unprecedented scale of Government cuts to our budget, we have – so far – been able to protect frontline services and so shield families from the impact of losing services they depend on.
“During this administration, we have managed to save some £60 million from the Council’s budget.
“We have delivered on our promise to wage a fresh war on waste which has helped deliver this target, and on all of our other pledges – including securing the delivery of 2,574 new affordable homes, a 24-hour Grimebusters hotline, 100 uniformed officers helping to keep our streets safe, and extra cash to improve school standards.”
Councillor Sharma added that despite the delivery of the pledges and good financial performance, the overall financial position would continue to be extremely difficult.
He said: “The scale of the further cuts we are facing in the years to come presents a major challenge. This will mean the toughest decisions about services and priorities that we have faced.
“Next year alone, the cut in our funding is £7.6m. As a result, there is now less money to invest in services than we anticipated.
“We currently expect to have to find at least a further £12m in savings for each of the following two years, which will be made even more difficult by pressures such as needing to provide additional primary school places for local children in the face of further government grant cuts.”
January 31, 2014