Council tax hikes by 4.99pc in Brent as leader warns of more cuts to come
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Brent residents face another tax hike after the council approved a 4.99 per cent rise at a full council meeting.
Brent councillors gathered at the Civic Centre on Monday night to agree a budget for the next two years.
Residents currently living in Band D households will see their council tax rise by an extra £1.37 a week.
Cllr Muhammed Butt, Labour leader of the council, said the council was “not doing this lightly” but warned that more cuts would have to be made in the coming years.
He said: “In 2018 to 2020 we’ll have to find another £50m in austerity and cuts.
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“I say this not to be negative but to be clear how challenging the next four years will be. They’ll make the last eight years seem like the good old days.”
He said the latest increase will bring in an extra £5.4million a year, which will help protect frontline services and plug a 12.9m gap in the 2018/19 budget.
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Cllr Butt said: “This is in the face of £164m of savings delivered since 2010, by the end of the 2018/19 financial year.”
The rise will fund the move to give care leavers under the age of 25 a council tax exemption and to reimburse them if they live out of the borough and must pay it elsewhere.
Some of the money will also be spent on improving transport for children with special educational needs.
Two per cent of the rise will be set aside for adult social care, to be spent on Brent’s most vulnerable residents and an increasingly aging population.
Cllr John Warren, Conservative opposition leader, accused the council of “taking Brent residents for a ride”.
He highlighted the recent 10pc increase in burial costs to £3,784 and the continued rise of the bulky waste collections which he described as a “stealth tax”.
Cllr Warren said: “It doesn’t matter in Brent if you’re dead or alive, you get fleeced.”
Cllr Margaret McLaren, deputy leader of Brent Council, defended the council tax rise and other savings.
She said: “Because of austerity we’ve had to look at everything we do to make sure we can give to the most vulnerable.
“We already spend 63pc of our budget on adult social services. It’s really tough out there at the moment.”