Council tax levels in Wandsworth have been frozen for the fifth time in six years after councillors voted to approve their budget package for the forthcoming 12 months. It means that residents will pay less from April when taking into account the fact that the Mayor of London has reduced his share of the bill by one per cent. Council leader Ravi Govindia said: “Residents of Wandsworth have always appreciated and understood that they receive really excellent value for money services from their town hall.
“Keeping council tax bills to the absolute minimum is hugely important for local people, especially those struggling on low incomes.
“The council’s budgets do of course remain under pressure and further action is required to make the necessary savings in the years ahead to ensure the financial burden on residents does not increase.
“That is why steps have already been taken, and these will continue, to slim down the council even further, by reducing senior staff numbers, reducing executive pay, cutting back-office costs, reducing the amounts spent on running and maintaining office buildings and seeking new efficiencies across all our services.
“The council is continuing to protect frontline services despite the savings it is required to make and has worked extremely hard to look after the most vulnerable residents. Wandsworth has some of London’s best parks and cleanest streets, and the council has maintained weekly refuse collections and kept all its libraries open.
“The priority is to make sure the council continues to play a full role in supporting people and helping them to make the most of their talents, ensuring our neighbourhoods continue to improve, and working to create new jobs, better transport links and extending educational choice and opportunity for all residents.”
Figures showing what most borough households will pay in 2014/15 are as follows. The figures in brackets show the charge payable by those affected by the additional WPCC levy:
Band A - £455 (£473)
Band B - £530 (£552)
Band C - £606 (£630)
Band D - £682 (£709)
Band E - £833 (£867)
Band F - £985 (£1,024)
Band G - £1,136 (£1,182)
Band H - £1,364 (£1,418)
These figures show bills for homes in which two or more adults reside. Single people who live alone qualify for a 25 per cent discount.
Across Wandsworth there are 6,014 Band A properties; 12,314 Band B properties; 35,787 Band C properties: 31,581 Band D properties; 20,708 Band E properties; 14,005 Band F properties; 12,003 Band G properties and 2,468 Band H properties.
Residents recently expressed their support for the council’s work in managing its budget effectively and keeping council tax bills to a minimum.
Resident survey results published in the autumn revealed that 84 per cent of local people agreed that "keeping council tax low is essential for residents" up from 67 per cent a decade ago. Only six per cent disagreed
And 67 per cent of residents questioned agreed with the statement: "I don't care if it is the council or another organisation that carries out local services as long as they are of a good standard." Only 17 per cent disagreed.
In addition, 84 per cent of residents said they are satisfied with the council’s overall performance, compared to a London average of 75 per cent.
Research into council tax levels from the time the system was first introduced in 1993 reveals that people who had lived in a Wandsworth Band D property for all that time would be £10,000 better off than households in other parts of the city who pay the London average.
Over the same 22 year period residents living in an average sized Band D home in neighbouring Richmond have paid £13,907 extra in council tax, while in Kingston the amount now totals £13,702 and in Merton the figure is £11,506.
Wandsworth residents living in an average-sized Band D property will pay £682 in council tax next year. This compares with a £1,300 bill paid by the average Londoner. Some people living in the west of the borough will pay slightly more because they are subject to the statutory levy imposed by the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators – giving a borough-wide average of £687.