Hounslow Council’s new budget approved at Borough Council meeting.
Published: Wednesday, 22nd February 2023
Hounslow Council has agreed a budget for the next year in the context of extraordinary financial pressures, whilst delivering on its commitments to build a Thriving, Safer, Cleaner, Greener and Healthier borough for residents, businesses, and communities.
During the last year, the Council has delivered on its ambitious corporate plan through:
Tackling the housing crisis by securing hundreds of high-quality, energy efficient new homes.
Planting a tree for each child born in the borough and continuing to tackle the climate emergency.
Investing in extra police officers to make Hounslow safer and launching an education project to reduce gender-based violence that challenges harmful attitudes towards women.
Helping Hounslow’s high streets to prosper in these challenging times, through a range of business-support initiatives, such as the Innovate and Grow business funding programme.
Working with the NHS and partners to help people improve their physical and mental health – along with supporting a massive public vaccination programme.
Using its innovative Community Solutions approach to provide much-needed support to those in greatest need. This is done through a series of Cost-of-Living Marketplace events, as well as working with partners to set up an extensive network of warm spaces.
In order to build on that work, while still providing high-quality frontline services, the budget includes a council tax increase.
With inflation at a 40-year high, rising costs, a decade of reduced government funding and increasing demand for vital services, the Council is facing tough times financially.
To avoid a budget shortfall, council tax will rise by 4.99%; the amount the government assumes local authorities will add to their bills this year. This includes 2% ringfenced for adult social care, a critical investment to help meet the rising costs and demand for these services.
The rise remains well-below the current rate of inflation and the council is continuing to offer one of the most generous Council Tax Support schemes in London, along with a ‘top up’ of an extra £50 off bills for eligible residents.
To help resident’s understand the new budget and how vital services will be protected during these difficult times, residents are invited to ask questions to the Leader of the Council, Councillor Shantanu Rajawat. The most relevant and popular questions will be answered in an upcoming video. Submit a question to the Leader of the Council.
Councillor Shantanu Rajawat, Leader of Hounslow Council, said:
“We have prepared our budget for the year ahead – to ensure we can continue to deliver for the residents, communities, and businesses of Hounslow through challenging times.
“We remain committed to building a Thriving, Safer, Cleaner and Greener, Healthier and more Liveable borough for all – by delivering our ambitious corporate plan.
“However, like all councils we find ourselves under considerable financial pressure as we face the combined impact of soaring inflation and rising demand for vital, frontline services for our most vulnerable residents.
“Whilst careful financial management over many years means Hounslow is in a relatively strong position among local authorities, the extraordinary economic climate means we have little choice but to propose to raise Council Tax to ensure a balanced budget and –to ensure we can deliver the quality of services and support residents expect and deserve.
“The average resident will see an increase in Council Tax, and whilst our council tax remains well below the national average, I fully appreciate this is an added cost for residents at a time when household finances are already stretched.
“To address this, we are still offering one of the most generous Council Tax support schemes in London for eligible residents, including a further reduction of up to £50. Through close collaboration with our partners, we already have an extensive package of support to help every resident navigate the current economic challenges and I encourage anyone with concerns about their finances to visit one of our cost-of-living marketplace events to find help.”
The budget and council tax rise were agreed at the Borough Council meeting on Tuesday 28 February. Read the full report.