Our budget for 2018-19 will freeze Council Tax but continue to invest in services. It will support local residents and communities as they cope with ever increasing living costs, embracing a new era of being financially independent of the Government.
The Greater London Authority is increasing its element of Council Tax by the maximum 5.1%. This will add £14.21 to the average yearly Band D Council Tax bill.
Here are some of the top line figures from this year's budget:
* This includes the £1.5 million we have given up as part of our deal to join the London business rates pooling pilot.
** This figure will be slightly more if you live in the Wimbledon or Putney Commons areas and does not include the portion of council tax that we collect on behalf of the Greater London Authority, which sets its own council tax rate.
Statement from the Leader of Kingston Council, Kevin Davis:
"For almost a decade, the government grant that helps pay for the council’s services has reduced every year. From April, Kingston will no longer receive any direct funding from the Government, which means we will have to independently fund all of the services we provide using income from Council Tax, Business Rates, charges and new ways of working.
"We know that Council Tax has become an increasing part of household bills, and in these times of rising living costs, we want to give something back to residents while continuing to deliver high quality services. We also need to ensure that our services meet your expectations.
"Since 2014, there have been common themes to our budgets: responding to the growth in population; tackling the significant reduction in government funding; and reshaping how we respond to and work with our residents. This year’s budget goes further than ever in addressing those issues.
"As part of our work to reshape the council and the way we deliver services, we have to save over £22 million from our spending this year. To put that in context, that’s almost a fifth of our total budget from last year. Over four years, we’ve made budget savings of just under £57 million. The steps we’ve taken to reduce our costs have enabled us to freeze Council Tax.
"While making these savings, this year we’re also providing an additional £10 million to help those who are most vulnerable. We’re investing nearly £3.6 million in caring for adults with learning disabilities and older residents, helping to keep them in their own homes or out of hospital when we can. For those who can no longer be cared for in their home, we’re proposing to build a new care home. We are also investing in property and assets to meet the future needs of our communities."
"Our challenging circumstances mean that we need to work closely with our partners, look at new ways to generate income and deliver more for less. Since 2014 we have been lobbying the Government to give us more control over business rates. From April we will take part in the London Business Rates pooling pilot scheme, which means that in exchange for giving up the last year of our declining government grant, we’ll keep a greater share of Business Rates and 100% of any growth.
"There is a huge opportunity for us here. Being an independently funded council will mean we are in charge of our own destiny, with far greater freedom and flexibility for the borough. With new income streams and our commitment to building new homes that increase our Council Tax base, we will continue to invest in services and strive to make Kingston an even better place to live, work and visit.
"This is a budget that improves our services, reshapes our council and gives something back to the residents of Kingston. We believe this sets the council on a path towards a future where it works harder to respond to its residents’ changing needs and the pace of growth in our borough."