Hammersmith & Fulham Council will again make good on its pledge to secure a better deal for residents next week, when it officially freezes council tax and most charges and gives a £3.4m cash boost to social care.
H&F’s Full Council is set to confirm the measures, along with other vital savings to help residents and local businesses, when it meets at Hammersmith Town Hall on Wednesday 22 February.
The move comes despite pressure from Government to raise council tax bills four per cent a year and means H&F has attracted praise from the Taxpayers’ Alliance for the council’s ‘proud record’.
“We know how tough times are for our residents which is why I’m pleased that we’re the most efficient, council tax-cutting administration in the country,” says H&F Council Leader, Cllr Stephen Cowan.
“We’re also the only council to abolish charges for home care for elderly and disabled people. We have in fact reduced the vast majority of council charges in real terms and we are investing millions extra to protect and improve social care. We’ve done all this at a time when the government is telling us to put council tax up four per cent and punitively basing its funding of us on the assumption we’ll increase council tax.
“We’re taking a hard-nosed approach to council finances which includes ruthlessly changing custom and practices and modernising how the council operates so it delivers more help for more residents.”
The council is set to fix the standard Band D charge at its current level of £727.81 at a meeting on 22 February. An additional sum is charged by the Mayor of London which will be added to local bills. In total H&F bills are likely to remain the third lowest in the country.
The freeze follows a freeze on last year’s bills and a cut in 2015-16.
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Extra cash to protect borough’s most vulnerable
Vulnerable residents are also set to benefit from an £3.4million per year of new ongoing funding into adult social care.
The bonus has been made possible using resources saved by cutting waste elsewhere in the council and negotiating better deals with contractors and developers.
The new council money for adult social care is in addition to a one-off £900,000 grant that the council has secured from the Government for social care pressures.
John O'Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: “When hard-pressed families are struggling with ever rising bills, it is crucial that councils do everything they can to ease the burden on residents.
“Hammersmith & Fulham Council has a proud record of cutting council tax so residents will be relieved that their bills won't be going up next year.”
The borough’s small businesses also look set to reap the rewards of H&F’s fiscal savy, thanks to a cut in the fees charged to traders at Lyric Square and North End Road markets.
The cut means many small traders will see their overheads slashed, which will help entice new stalls and boost the borough’s aim of becoming the best place to do business in Europe.
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