Consultation across Brent to hike council tax by almost FIVE per cent

Brent Civic Centre

Brent Civic Centre - Credit: Archant

Residents are to be consulted on a FIVE percent hike to their council tax after government chiefs gave all local authorities the go-ahead.

Brent Council has announced this week that it may increase council tax by 4.99pc, not the earlier 3.99pc as stated last month in cabinet papers.

The council is responding to communities secretary Sajid Javid’s announcement on December 20 where he said councils could increase council tax by 5.99 pc without voters having a say.

For residents in Band D, the 4.99 pc rise translates as an extra £1.37 extra per week, which the council said will help protect frontline services and plug a 12.9m gap in the 2018/19 budget.

Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of the council, headed to Whitehall on January 16 to meet Rishi Sunak MP, parliamentary under-secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, to argue the case for a fairer funding deal for Brent’s residents.

He said: “I told the minister that enough is enough. Councils have borne the brunt of the Government’s cuts to public services, more so than the NHS or the police, and this latest funding deal just piles the pressure on.

However efficient the council becomes, these deep and sustained cuts in central government funding mean less money for the services residents, and particularly the most vulnerable residents, rely upon.

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“It would be better all-round if the government came through with a fairer deal for Brent, rather than have the tax-buck passed on through council tax rises to help plug part of the gap.”

Residents have the chance to question the council at arranged Brent Connect meetings which will run in Kilburn, Willesden, Kingsbury and Kenton before a green light from cabinet in February followed by full council later that month.

A council spokesman said: “Brent had been budgeting for a proposed 3.99 per cent increase, but the Government has since announced that it would allow councils to raise council tax by an additional one per cent, so we will be consulting on a rise of 4.99 per cent to help plug part of the gap left by the reduction in government funding.

“No decision has yet been made as any rise is subject to backing from Brent’s cabinet and a full council vote in February.”

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