Kensington and Chelsea agree voluntary council tax donation scheme inviting affluent residents to support community projects

A charity is being set up so A-listers who live in one of London’s most affluent areas can donate money to support the community get a foothold on the career ladder.

Kensington and Chelsea council agreed to the voluntary council tax donation scheme after writing to residents in 15,500 of the most desirable des res homes in the borough.

Some of the most exclusive properties can cost upwards of £30m.

A-listers including David and Victoria Beckham, Robbie Williams and Ed Sheeran count the area as their home.

The council asked people who live in the top band council homes if they would be willing to pay more.

The tragedy at Grenfell tower, which claimed the lives of 72 people, highlighted some of the inequalities in the borough, which has pockets of deprivation and
people struggling to get off the housing waiting list.

When the council launched a major consultation after Grenfell, residents told them one of their priorities was getting better job opportunities.

Under government rules, councils cannot just put up the bills, but under this scheme, residents living in Band H who pay £2,381 will be able to make additional voluntary contributions to a charity.

The council sent letters this spring with Freepost reply forms to the 22,750 residents to ask them if they were willing to pay more and got responses from 1,172 people.

Of these, 67 per cent (785) of top council tax payers said they backed the scheme and 61 per cent (714) said they would contribute to the fund.

The majority of them said they were in favour of the first year’s priority of using the cash to help people living across the borough to get access to better career opportunities and jobs.

It follows Westminster council introducing a similar scheme last year to raise money for the homeless and young people. Within a year it had raised more than £600,000.

The charity will be independent of Kensington and Chelsea council. There will be eight trustees – four from the council and four independent people.

The decision is subject to formal consent, which was expected to be given at full council last night.


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