1.5% increase on council tax for 2006/07


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Hammersmith & Fulham Council's three year inflation-busting council tax guarantee was approved at a budget council meeting last Wednesday, 22 February. It follows a series of scrutiny meetings where the budget has been widely endorsed.

The agreed budget includes a 1.5 per cent increase on council tax for 2006/07 as well as a 1.5 per cent tax cap guarantee for the following two years and extra spending on the most widely used services. As well as the three year tax cap guarantee the budget includes:

Scrapping home care charging. Nearly 2,000 older and disabled people who currently benefit from the home help service will see all charges for help with shopping, personal care and cleaning abolished.

A freeze in concessionary rates for after-school and holiday play schemes and cheaper sessions for holiday schemes.

Scrapping youth service fees and more spending on youth services.

Freezing residential parking permit charges and discounts for 'green' fuel vehicles.

Extra spending on the Smarter Borough programme, for free graffiti removal, garden waste recycling and fly tip removals.

Extra spending on safer communities, street scene enforcement, education and housing. £80.8 million is set aside for schools and pupil-related services - up £5.3 million on last year. This represents a six per cent increase for every pupil in the borough. Local schools will decide for themselves how they want to spend the extra money.

"The winning combination of a three year council tax guarantee plus extra investment in services is all thanks to huge efficiencies and better ways of working across the council", says council leader, Cllr Stephen Burke. "We will make more than £12 million of efficiency savings this year, on top of £8 million last year. Better working practices, new technology and increased productivity all mean we are reducing overheads at the same time as driving up the quality of services.

"We want to keep bills as low as possible for all taxpayers but this is particularly good news for pensioners and people on fixed incomes. We want to end the uncertainty and worry people feel about how much their bills will be. We want Hammersmith & Fulham residents to be able to rest assured there will be no nasty shocks for the next three years. This three year council tax guarantee is probably the best deal in London."

February 26, 2006