In order to maintain the quality of services that residents have told us are important to them, Council Tax must increase, Richmond Council has agreed.
Historically, under successive Governments, Richmond upon Thames has been poorly funded. The four year Finance Settlement arranged in 2016 has resulted in Richmond losing its Government General Grant by 2018/19. This continues to leave Richmond as the lowest funded Council in London with the Council Tax paid by residents covering an ever higher share of service costs.
Current levels of Government funding do not adequately cover a number of key council services such as children’s services and adult social care. Together these areas account for over half of the Council’s budgeted expenditure.
As a result, at the full Council meeting last night members agreed proposals to accept a further 2% Government precept for social care as well as a 1.99% increase in Richmond’s element of the Council Tax.
This means the overall Council Tax, for a Band D property in 2018/19, excluding the Greater London Authority element would be provisionally set at £1,412.71, an increase of £54.19 on 2017/18.
The Mayor of London’s precept on a Band D property will be £294.23
Cllr Stephen Speak, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Finance, said:
“No one wants to increase Council Tax. However, we have no choice. The Government has slashed our funding. Therefore, if we are to continue providing the high quality services that residents want and need, we have to increase our Council Tax.
“Since 2011 we have successfully saved £56m from our budget, but by 2021 we have to find a further £20m. As the lowest funded borough in London this is a difficult challenge that will take innovative thinking and continued good management of the Council.
“We have had to get slimmer and smarter in delivering our services and we are looking at even more ways to provide high quality services more efficiently at lower costs. Our digital strategy is key here.
“Despite the intense pressure on our budgets we have still managed to deliver high quality services – and in the recent resident’s survey – I am pleased that 87% of people are satisfied with how we are performing. 70% of people recognise that we are providing value for money.
“This increase will ensure we can continue investing in our services. Together, we will keep Richmond upon Thames as the best borough in London”