Council Tax frozen, more money for vital services
Council Tax bills in Kingston are set to be frozen for the year ahead.
Thanks to a further £7.8million worth of savings and efficiency measures by the council, there will be extra investment in essential services but no increase in taxpayers’ bills.
Inflation alone would have increased bills by £37.25 in 2014/15.
It is the third time in four years that Council Tax has been frozen in Kingston. If Council Tax had risen in line with inflation over the same period, the average band D bill would be £327.71 a year (£6.30 a week) higher than it will be in 2014/15.
Kingston Council has achieved the tax freeze despite a ten per cent cut in its government funding for 2014/15 – the fourth consecutive year of government cuts.
Despite these cuts, the council will meet rising costs and pressures in key areas, including:
- £1m more in 2014/15 to care for growing numbers of older people and adults with learning disabilities
- £850,000 over three years to tackle homelessness, including extra costs arising from government changes to benefits
- £300,000 more for children’s services
- £277,000 to meet new flood management responsibilities
- £100,000 to tackle social housing fraud
“The government has cut Kingston’s funding by £21.7million since 2010/11 and we face estimated future cuts of £16.1million up to 2017/18.
“We will have reduced our overall budget by £39million since 2010. We have had to work hard to manage our squeezed budget while sticking to our priorities and providing the services, such as adult social care, that matter most to people.
“Kingston’s share of government funding is a lot less than the average for other London boroughs but we are one of the capital’s lowest spending councils, delivering value-for-money services.”Councillor Rolson Davies, Kingston Council’s Lead Member for Finance and Resources
“Despite the challenging financial climate, increasing pressure on our limited resources and increasing demand for services we have continued to find new ways and opportunities to provide services more efficiently for our community.”Councillor Liz Green, Leader of the Council
Councillors will meet next month to approve the budget and Council Tax for 2014/15.