Kingston Council is to increase the Council Tax by 5% as from April 2021, leaving hard-pressed residents paying the highest Council Tax in England.
The Council Tax hike comes after the LibDems failed to meet their own savings targets, and despite receiving an extra £30million funding from the Conservative Government. Despite that unprecedented support, the LibDems have chosen to put up Council Tax by the maximum amount allowable.
Cllr Kevin Davis, Leader of the Conservative Opposition said:
“By September of last year, it was clear the Council finances were a mess. The LibDems didn’t even bother making the changes required to make the savings targets they set themselves last year. Of course, COVID-19 has made an impact here in Kingston, but the Government has stepped in and spent £30m bailing out the LibDems to enable them to balance the budget by the year-end. Despite that, the Lib Dems have slammed local people with a whopping 5% increase in Council Tax in a single year.”
Under the LibDems Kingston residents have seen Council Tax rise by a staggering 16% in just three years. For the first time ever Band D Council Tax is now over £2,000 per year – an increase of £286.
To add to the high Lib Dem tax rise and the Labour Mayor of London will also be adding a significant increase to the local Council Tax.
Cllr Rowena Bass, Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group and Finance spokesperson, said:
“Kingston’s LibDems are happy putting up taxes but our services are declining even though they are employing more staff. On top of this year’s increase, we are now facing extra charges for waste disposal and the closure of the few public toilets that are left. Yet they are spending more on employing staff to become events managers and staff to monitor, but not necessarily improve, air quality. How have they managed to forget the needs of ordinary residents at a time when they are suffering hardship and financial loss during this painful pandemic?”
Cllr Kevin Davis continues:
“The Lib Dems are addicted to tax rises, but on top of tax rises we also face even higher charges to empty green waste bins, cuts to the Library service and £1.6m cut from services for vulnerable people who could be forced out of their current homes. This new budget does not even mention their plans to flog off the family silver by selling our historic listed Guildhall building to developers, or that they have chosen to keep the much-needed Kingfisher swimming pool closed for five years. This is a ‘bugger the residents’ budget from a LibDem party who spend all their time fighting each other, not dealing with the issues of residents.”
Council Tax rises by year since the Lib Dems took control
|Year||Council Tax||Increase||Party running Council|
The budget this year is adding 18 new staff in a time when we should be making savings. New posts include:
- Event managers
- Staff to tackle internal fraud
- Data officers
Budget savings and increased fees and charges include:
- Income generation for waste charges, including limiting use of the council tip
- Increased charges for collecting green waste – 7% increase
- New parking permit areas
- Reduction in libraries budget
- Closure of public toilets in car parks
- £1.6m (Just under £4m over 4 years) to move vulnerable adults out of their current residential homes into cheaper provision
- Cutting number plate recognition in the Borough and increasing the number of scooter based enforcement officers
- Increase in parking permit costs