Hammersmith & FulhamNews

Hammersmith and Fulham chiefs confirm top council tax hike – but point to bigger picture

By Ben Lynch, Local Democracy Reporter

Hammersmith and Fulham residents will pay on average an additional £80.77 in council tax for the year ahead, with the council voting to implement the largest possible hike.

The west London council said the move was necessary to deliver a balanced budget, amid what the leader described as ‘the most challenging of circumstances’.

The increase means the average Band D property in the borough will be liable to pay £1,386.77 a year, including the Greater London Authority (GLA) precept.

This remains among the lowest in the country, and significantly less than the likes of Havering and Brent, both of which are north of £2,000. An estimated 42 per cent of Hammersmith and Fulham residents receive discounts via the Council Tax Support Scheme.

At a full council meeting on Wednesday, the Labour administration’s leader, Stephen Cowan, spoke at length of the financial challenges facing local authorities across the country.

The total spend proposed for the 2024/25 revenue budget is £128m compared to £164m in 2010, a cut he largely put at the feet of reductions to funding from the Government.

Despite such pressures, Cllr Cowan said the local authority had managed to set its budget without affecting front line services.

Cllr Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler, leader of the Conservative opposition, however, described the proposal as one ‘which could have been good but is merely adequate’, attacking the administration’s record on issues ranging from housing to the Clean Air Neighbourhood (CAN) trial, as well as its decision to increase the council tax and adult social care precept by a combined 4.99 per cent for 2024/25.

In a report detailing the plans, the local authority outlined how it is looking to pump £10.7 million additional funding into services from adult social care to environmental work, while recouping £8.1m from a combination of savings and new income.

Pictured top: Hammersmith town hall  (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Phillip Perry)

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