Residents thanked for helping to cut council tax
Thursday March 1, 2012
H&F Council Leader Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh (right) hands out Roses chocolates to say 'thank you' to residents
The council is saying 'thank you' to residents for their help in delivering the biggest council tax cut in the country.
Hammersmith & Fulham Council (H&F) agreed to cut its council tax bills, for the fifth year out of six, last night (Feb 29) and says the cut was partly made possible by local residents throwing away less, recycling more, dropping less litter and using the council’s website more.
H&F Council has been cutting council tax faster than any other local authority and is today launching a major campaign to thank residents for helping cut bills - while urging people to do more.
A digital advertising van is touring the borough to thank residents for doing their bit and a YouTube video has been released covering The Scaffold’s song ‘Thank you very much’ - better known as the Cadbury’s Roses theme tune - with council staff singing the praises of local taxpayers.
The move to shave 3.75% of the annual precept is the biggest cut in the country with the average H&F council taxpayer now £243 better off compared to the average Londoner... based on five years of tax cuts when average council tax bills in the capital have risen by £73.
On top of the savings so far, the council says it expects to save another £1.6million in 2012/13 in reduced back office costs, as 50,000 residents have been using online accounts instead of turning up at council buildings.
It is estimated that at least a further £17million per year could be saved across the capital in reduced refuse collection costs if just one in ten people did a little more. Residents are also being encouraged to:
- Use street litter bins for rubbish, including cigarette butts
- Recycle more
- Use the council's website more to get information, access services or to report problems.
That saving would be enough to clean the whole of Singapore, one of the cleanest countries in the world, for a whole year. Last year Londoners saved £30million by recycling and if everyone in London recycled everything they can at-least £60million per year could be saved, according to Recycle for London.
The news comes as H&F is reducing management and overhead costs by 50% by combining some services with neighbouring Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea Councils - which will save taxpayers £33million by 2014/15.
Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, H&F Council leader, said: “The council is doing its bit by slashing management and overhead costs and we would like to thank the residents who have been recycling more and using our website more for doing their bit too. Sometimes a relatively small change in behaviour can result in significant cash savings for us all and that is what we are seeing in Hammersmith & Fulham.”
While cutting tax, H&F Council has agreed to freeze parking charges, keep all its libraries open, maintain weekly - or even twice-weekly - refuse collections and plough £1.3million into extra town centre police. It is also one of just two councils in London offering homecare to people in the ‘greater moderate’ as well as ‘substantial’ or ‘critical’ banding.
H&F boasts some of the cleanest streets in London, six of its parks have received the prestigious ‘Green Flag’ award for their quality and its schools have scored the borough’s best ever GCSE results. The borough, which recently saw three new schools open, has more state pupils going to top universities than any other place in Britain.
For the first time in 26 years the council's historic debt, which was once as high as £176million, is set to fall below £100million, meaning that debt repayments have been reduced by £7.1 million a year.