Charges and fees cut by 4 per cent

Hammersmith & Fulham Council will cut the total income budgeted from fees and charges for residents by 4% from April.

The overall reduction for the 2015/16 financial year is expected to be welcome news for residents after five years of rises. It comes in addition to a cut in council tax.

The fee reductions include abolishing the £12 an hour charge for vital home care needed by elderly and Disabled people, as well as cutting charges for the the meals on wheels service for vulnerable residents by a third and bulky waste collections from people’s homes by a tenth.

Cllr Max Schmid, Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “This is a budget which puts money back in residents’ pockets, and not just through its cut in council tax.

“We have worked hard to make a difference to residents’ lives for the better despite large government cuts to our budget.”

It is the first time since 2009 the total budgeted income from fees and charges has been cut by the council. Total fees and charges went up by 5.8% last year, 12.8% in 2013 and 8.1% the year before.

The 4% cut to the total cost of fees and charges was approved at a full council meeting last week and comes at the same time as H&F approved plans to cut council tax by 1%, the only local authority in London to do so.

There will also be a raft of measures to improve residents’ lives thanks to a wide range of money saving changes including negotiating more effectively with suppliers, sharing more services with other boroughs and attracting more clients for our commercial services such as business waste.

This is all being achieved at a time of austerity. In December, 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.

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