Newham Council to consider raising Council Tax to improve service delivery for residents

17 October 2018 in Council and democracy and Finance and Mayor
At a meeting of Newham Council’s Cabinet on Monday, 15 October, members agreed to consider a two per cent increase in Council Tax and may implement a three per cent Adult Social Care Precept increase.
Newham Council will now consider this raise, subject to final decisions to set the Council Tax in February 2019, after a decade of freezing Council Tax has cost the authority £82m, with an aim to improve services for residents.

The Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, said: “We’ve lost millions of pounds due to government cuts and the decision of the previous administration to freeze Council Tax levels.

“This means we need to look at the way we make savings and how we can be more efficient while continuing to deliver services residents have told us they value.”

Increases in Council Tax alongside the Adult Social Care Precept, which would equate to £1.45p per week, may be needed in order to keep valuable council services running such as children’s and young peoples services and road maintenance, both of which have seen a higher than anticipated demand.

The changes to taxation would bring in around £3.75m to the council in order to help cover the budget gap left by service demand pressures, government cuts, and previous tax freezes. The council has lost more than £100m worth of government funding since 2013.

Mayor Fiaz added: “Raising Council Tax is not a decision that we will take lightly. We are doing all we can to help protect services for Newham residents and are exploring all avenues to find the budget gap.

“The council can only deliver the services residents want if it sets a balanced and deliverable budget.”

The 2019/20 budget will be decided at Cabinet and Full Council meetings in February 2019.

Proposals also discussed at the meeting will see the council build on its support for low income families. These methods will include:
  • MoneyWorks service will provide access to fair, low-cost loans, as well as crisis loans and money management advice
  • Care leavers will be exempt from paying Council Tax in the borough until the age of 25
  • Universal Credit and arrears support has been made available in libraries and Community Neighbourhood Centres
  • Discretionary Housing Payment which can help reduce the financial strain on low income houses in the rented sector to help them manage other costs
  • Reducing use of bailiffs and court costs when residents miss payments to avoid additional money being added to their debt.