Pressure group calls for rebellion against proposed Havering council tax hike

Campaigners from low-tax pressure group the TayPayers' Alliance outside Havering Town Hall today, February 16.

Campaigners from low-tax pressure group the TaxPayers' Alliance outside Havering Town Hall on February 16. - Credit: TPA

A pressure group has promised to fight a proposed council tax rise in Havering. 

Budget proposals for 2022/23, announced last week, include a 2.99 per cent council tax rise along with a 400-role reduction in council staff, with around 100 redundancies expected. 

The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) was in Gooshays and Harold Wood today (February 16) in an effort to pressure councillors from the North Havering Residents Group to oppose the measure. 

The proposals will be put to Havering’s cabinet on Thursday, February 17 for recommendation to full council. 

Council leader Cllr Damian White said Havering was “one of the most efficient councils in the country” and the tax rise was one of the smallest for seven years. 

However, Havering’s Conservative group do not have overall control of the local authority, and last year relied on votes from the Residents' Group to pass its budget. 

According to TPA, the tax rise means someone in a band D property would pay an extra £56.79, a total of £1,950. 

Harry Fone, TPA’s grassroots campaign manager, said: "It simply isn’t fair that town hall bosses are digging ever deeper into people's pockets, when they should focus on getting their own house in order." 

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The pressure group claim in 2020/21, 16 Havering staff members earned more than £100,000, five of whom received more than £150,000. 

They also noted the council recently created two additional cabinet posts at a cost of almost £60,000 to taxpayers

Council leader Cllr Damian White said Havering was “one of the most efficient councils in the country” and staff cuts included in the budget would “inevitably include senior officers too”. 

He claimed Havering’s salaries were “comparatively low” compared to other London boroughs and the tax rise was one of the smallest for seven years. 

Support from central government had not matched the rising cost of social care, he added, saying this had been compounded by inflation and increases in waste disposal and collection costs. 

“Over the years we have received less grant from government and therefore savings, council tax and income generated from other means has supported our budgets,” he said. 

Nonetheless, Mr Fone said with the council set for a “tight vote”, it was “time for local councillors to take a stand on behalf of their hard-pressed residents”. 

Havering North Residents Group councillors Brian Eagling, Martin Goode, Jan Sargent and Darren Wise did not respond to request for comment.