Search

Council tax in Havering frozen for fourth year running as town hall votes through 2013/14 budget

14:00 28 February 2013

Cllr Roger Ramsey (Conservative, Emerson Park)

Cllr Roger Ramsey (Conservative, Emerson Park)

Archant

The borough’s council tax will not go up in April, it was decided at the town hall last night.

That means 2013/14 will be the fourth financial year in a row that Havering Council has frozen rates – although a meagre central government grant means the average household bill is still among London’s highest.

The freeze was the jewel in the crown of a budget that Tories and opposition councillors alike hailed as sensible and fair.

In an uncharacteristically respectful, orderly debate, councillors from all sides praised the work of officers in delivering the freeze in such tough financial conditions. The council’s expenditure for the year will be nearly £7m higher than in 2012/13 and Havering has been dealt a poor hand by Whitehall – it will again receive less funding per head than any of its neighbouring boroughs.

To balance the books, finance boss Cllr Roger Ramsey said Havering would focus on “maximising efficiency” and “making back office savings”.

Bills will increase for some – the average council house rent will go up by 5.6 per cent, or an extra £237 a year. But council rents in Havering are likely to remain the lowest in the capital.

And the rise will be offset for some by a £163 cut in service charges.

The cost of some support services for older people will go up 3.1 per cent, but the council is investing in projects to keep people out of care and in their own homes for longer.

The new council tax bill – which is actually slightly lower than last year – means Havering is able to take advantage of a £1m grant from central government for freezing charges.

And a further bonus for building new homes to the tune of £1.5m is also on its way.

But much of the council’s funding this year will come from the sale of assets, such as office buildings made surplus by transferring staff to Mercury House.

Proposing the budget, Cllr Ramsey told the council chamber: “Setting a budget is a matter of policies, priorities and people.

“I believe we can look our taxpayers in the eye and tell them their money is safe in our hands.”

Not all London councils have set their rates for 2013/14, but the Havering figures are favourable compared with other outer London boroughs like Bromley, Croydon and Wandsworth – where council tax is increasing.

0 comments

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 11:41
Whitchurch Road, Harold Hill. Picture: Google Street View

Police are continuing to investigate a fire at a business address following the arrest of a teenager.

Yesterday, 15:34
Residents and choristers at Romford Nursing Care Centre (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

Young and old turned out for a morning of carols and memories at a Harold Hill care home today.

Yesterday, 10:13
Cllr Roger Ramsey: 'We hope our planning and assumptions will be in line with changes'

Councils across England face an average to their spending power of 1.8 per cent – but Havering hasn’t yet worked out precisely how badly it will be affected.

Yesterday, 07:00
The Brewery Shopping Centre in Romford

It’s a cause that unites the borough’s youngest and oldest businesses, from shopping centres to independent retailers, trend-setting vintage stores to traditional jewellers.

Most read news

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

News from your area

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition

Janey Godley was caught up in the major road incident at George Square today, and gave her testimony of what she saw.

The former QPR and Burnley player was reportedly involved in a serious incident involving a lorry in North Yorkshire.

Ringo Starr, Bette Midler, Steven Tyler and Boy George are among the many musicians paying tribute to the Sheffield singer.

People are paying tribute after the rock and blues legend Joe Cocker has passed away.