Wandsworth freezes council tax but borough still needs to slash budget by £50million

Cash-strapped people in Wandsworth are being given a helping hand by the council as they will continue to pay the lowest average council tax in the country.

The council leader promised to prioritise public needs and ease financial pressure on people in the borough by freezing the tax rate for a second year in a row.

Council tax in Wandsworth has only increased twice in 12 years and despite increasingly squeezed budgets the freeze has been protected.

While residents in the west of the borough will play slightly more due to levy imposed by Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators, those living in Band D properties will pay £677.95 which is approximately half of the London average.

“Our spending continues to fall year-on-year but unlike many other councils we are not making up the shortfall with higher taxes or widespread cut to frontline services,” said Wandsworth council leader Ravi Govindia.

“Instead we have drastically reduced our back office, slashed our senior wage bill and cut down the number of council departments.”

“The council is now a much leaner and more efficient machine that ever before, but with the same high quality service standards and ultra low tax rate.”

Cllr Govindia said that embracing ideas from different sectors generates benefits and allows them to improve services.

“Part of our solution will be to share staff with Richmond council so we can continue to reduce spending while protecting front line services and keeping council tax low. These principles will continue to guide our work in the years ahead,” he said.

A report on the proposed tax rate will be discussed by the finance and corporate resources committee on February 19, and then referred to a full meeting of the council on March 4 for final approval.

The report also showed the council was spending £90million a year less than it was in 2010, but further reductions of £50million will be required by 2017 in order to balance the budget.

Image courtesy of Images_of_Money, with thanks

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