Councils agree taxes

Hounslow Council is to cut council tax again, while Ealing agrees another freeze.

Hounslow Councillors have approved a half per cent cut in council tax for the second year running. They had frozen the tax for the previous six years.

Leader of Hounslow Council, Cllr Jagdish Sharma, said: “For so many families in the borough, particularly in the wake of welfare reforms and the so-called bedroom tax, the struggle to make ends meet is becoming a battle.”

But he emphasised they will still invest: “we are using our reserves to invest in additional school places for local children, and we will shortly be opening a new community resource centre in Hounslow so community groups will have the resources they need to help themselves.

“Work has also begun on a brand new leisure centre for Heston that will provide high quality facilities for local people for years to come.”

Meanwhile Ealing Council has agreed to freeze council tax for the sixth year running.

They also repeated a commitment to invest in local services – including creating 3,570 additional primary school places by April 2018, and building 74 new homes in addition to the ongoing regeneration of council estates including South Acton, Green Man Lane, Copley Close, Dean Gardens, Havelock Estate and Rectory Park.

Councillor Yvonne Johnson, cabinet member for finance and performance, said: “While the council’s annual income for running its services has been cut severely we have been able to take money from our capital budgets to invest in local services.  By improving public services and investing in our towns, homes, leisure and transport services Ealing will continue to be a great place to live and will attract  new investment, jobs and economic growth.”

“Although we have agreed these one-off infrastructure projects now, the scale of likely reductions to the council’s funding over the next few years means the prospect of future investment is bleak.”

The government is providing a grant for authorities who set a 0% council tax increase in 2014-15. The grant is equivalent to a 1% increase in council tax.

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