July 26 2014 Latest news:
Molly Kersey, Reporter
Thursday, April 3, 2014
A Gidea Park resident was shocked after learning about the huge difference between council tax in Havering and other London boroughs.
Pensioner Richard Spinks was reading an article about housing in London when he made the discovery.
“It did have a graph about how much council tax was paid in Westminster and having read that I looked at the rates that we were paying in Havering and discovered this massive discrepancy,” he said.
Richard’s house, which he has lived in for around 30 years, falls into the “Band F” category, meaning that the amount of council tax required is £2,158.26.
Properties in Westminster which are in the same band pay £977.51, meaning that there is a difference of £1,180.75.
He noticed that other areas including Wandsworth and Hammersmith and Fulham are also paying less council tax.
“Why should we be obliged to pay an amount based upon where we happen to reside?” he said.
“How can it be that the householders of Havering are being penalised to such an extent?
“It’s got to change at some point.”
Richard is now worried about what the future brings. He said that there had been a rise in council tax in some areas and fears the same could happen in Havering.
Romford MP Andrew Rosindell said: “I have for as long as I have been Member of Parliament for Romford, called for a change in the local government grant system, which is so unfair to boroughs such as Havering”.
However, he also acknowledged the positive work that Havering council are doing.
“At least in Havering we have a well run local council that spends money wisely and keeps the council tax levels as low as possible, with no increase now for several years.
“I would love to see the system change, but if it results in us in Havering paying less, then it would mean that other part of Britain would have to pay more, so getting politicians of all parties, from all over the country, to agree to a new system is not straight forward at all,” he said.
“Local government reform in this manner is something which I remain committed to and hope to work towards within a Conservative majority government after 2015.”