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Council sets Budget to protect services and deliver ambitious plans for Hounslow

Hounslow Council last night (Tuesday 25 February) approved its Budget for 2020/21

Published: Wednesday, 26th February 2020

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Hounslow Council last night  (Tuesday 25 February) approved its Budget for 2020/21, setting out how it will continue to deliver frontline services and deliver on its priorities and ambitions for the borough.

At the Borough Council meeting, it was also agreed to increase the council’s element of Council Tax by 3.99%.

This will add an extra £48.92 a year, or £4 a month, for a typical Band D property (excluding the greater London Authority precept). Two per cent is ringfenced to protect adult social care – an increase requested by the Government – and 1.99 per cent is a general increase reflecting the impact of inflation on the council’s costs.

Cllr Shantanu Rajawat, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services, said: “Our responsibility as a council is to provide local services for residents and ensure our borough is a great place to live, work, study and visit. We have ambitious plans for Hounslow but need to respond to increasing local demand and government requirements.

“Over the past 10 years we have had to manage unprecedented reductions in funding from the Government, meaning we have had to save £160 million from our core budget since 2010. We also continue to face significant increasing costs, particularly in adult and children’s social care, special educational needs, homelessness and waste disposal. Through sound financial management we’ve been able to cover these increases, but it remains extremely challenging.

“Against this backdrop, and in order to protect services and our most vulnerable residents while also achieving our wider ambitions, we have had to make the difficult decision to increase Council Tax this year. Such a decision is expected to be taken by all London boroughs. We remain committed to our Council Tax Support scheme, one of the most generous in London, which helps our residents in most need with a discount of up to 100 per cent of their Council Tax bill.

“To minimise the impact on services, we have focused on increasing our efficiency by encouraging greater use of online services, reducing contract and insurance costs, working smarter and reducing back office costs. Our move to a smaller, modern, efficient and environmentally-friendly building – Hounslow House – in April 2019 has also resulted in lower running costs as well as placing us at the heart of the community providing easier access and increasing visitors to our library.”

Cllr Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, added: “We continue to live through uncertain times. As Britain has just left the European Union, we are not yet clear what this will mean in terms of a trade agreement or the impact on our economy. Nor do we know what the Chancellor’s Budget next month will hold for local government funding. However, what we can be sure about is our continued desire to provide good quality services for residents and businesses, to enable everyone to receive a good education, find suitable work, live in good quality homes and in a clean and green environment, and for those in most need to be looked after.

“We will keep investing in our borough and the services that are important to people, while making savings where we can. Though we always need to spend within our means, we remain ambitious for Hounslow and we will keep delivering on our pledges to build more affordable homes, increase recycling, improve roads, and create thousands of apprenticeships and training opportunities, and supporting the London Living Wage.”

Watch a recording of the Borough Council meeting here: https://youtu.be/qPJNvpgSVqI

For information on Council Tax, visit www.hounslow.gov.uk/counciltax.

Residents can manage their Council Tax account online.  Register at www.hounslow.gov.uk/counciltax to check your bill, set up a direct debit, claim Council Tax Support or tell us about any changes to your circumstances. Managing your Council Tax account online saves you time and money.

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