At a time when many household bills are going up, Hammersmith & Fulham has today announced its intention to cut council taxes by 1%.
H&F’s new administration is also proposing to abolish the £12 per hour charge for vital home care needed by elderly and Disabled people. It intends to freeze many council charges including those for parking and school meals. And it will cut some charges, such as meals on wheels which will fall by 33% and bulky waste collections which will fall by 10%.
Last month the government announced that it will cut funding to Hammersmith & Fulham Council by 4.7% but this rises to a cut that is over 10% if ring-fenced budgets and new statutory obligations are added into the list of the council’s financial commitments.
The new administration has been able to deliver residents the benefits of cuts to council tax and council charges by making a wide range of savings including cutting the number of senior managers; cutting the costs of the office space we use; scrapping council magazines and reducing its PR budget; and negotiating more effectively with suppliers and property developers.
Council leader Cllr Stephen Cowan said: “These are tough times for our residents and we wanted to put money back into their pockets just as we said we would last May.
“In addition to cutting council tax, we will be freezing hundreds of council charges such as on parking and school meals, we will cut meals on wheels charges by 33% and abolish the £12 per hour charge Disabled and elderly residents had to pay for vital home care. We have balanced the books and are even putting extra police on the streets by slashing wasteful expenditure, negotiating more effectively with suppliers and developers and making the council more efficient. We will continue to deliver ever better value to our residents.”
A final decision on the council’s budget for 2015-16, including council tax rates, will be made at the annual budget meeting on 25 February. Before that, detailed proposals will be discussed in public at a series of policy and accountability meetings throughout January.