Average council tax bills still the nation's lowest
Published: Thursday 7th March 13
Councillors have confirmed that Wandsworth residents will pay the lowest average council tax bills in the country following their budget setting meeting last night (Wednesday).
Last night's meeting confirmed that a Wandsworth Band D bill for the majority of the borough's residents will be £685.77 this year.
Some residents in the west of the borough will pay slightly more because they are also subject to the statutory levy imposed by the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators.
The town hall has frozen its share of council tax for the sixth year running, but overall bills will rise slightly because of increasing charges from other public sector organisations whose funding makes up part of the bill. This includes the cost of refuse disposal by the Western Riverside Waste Authority.
This means that Band D bills will rise by 22p a week from April - an overall increase of 3.1 per cent. This is only the second increase in ten years while many other household costs during this time have virtually doubled.
Borough residents will continue to pay around half the council tax bills that other Londoners have to pay. The average Band D council tax bill in the capital currently stands at more than £1,300.
Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said: "Once again we have been able to freeze our share of bills but we cannot absorb costs that are beyond our control and are levied by other statutory organisations.
"This is only the second increase in ten years and our residents can rest assured that we will always be Britain's number one council for both value and service.
"Our budgets do of course remain under pressure and further action is required if we are to make the necessary savings in the years ahead to ensure we do not increase the financial burden on residents.
"That is why we are taking steps to slim down the council even further, by reducing senior staff numbers, cutting back-office costs, reducing the amounts spent on running and maintaining office buildings and seeking new efficiencies across all our services."
The council is on course to meet its spending reduction target of £80m by 2014. However the period beyond 2014 requires an additional reduction of £20m - meaning the council will have had to find savings worth £100m over this five year period.
As part of the reorganisation, the council will now be exploring new and innovative ways of delivering a far wider range of services in partnership with the private sector. The council has a long and successful 35-year record of working closely with the private sector to deliver high quality local services at the best value for money prices.
Cllr Govindia added: "We are continuing to do everything we can to protect frontline services despite the huge savings we are required to make to help pay off the nation's debt mountain.
"We are proud to have some of the best parks and cleanest streets, proud to be maintaining weekly refuse collections and proud to be keeping all our libraries open.
"We are also proud of the work we are doing to look after our most vulnerable residents properly and we are proud that Wandsworth is a place where people can make the most of their talents, where we are improving our neighbourhoods, creating new jobs, improving transport links and extending educational choice and opportunity.
A study of council tax levels over the past 20 years shows that Wandsworth Band D payers are £10,054 better off over that period than taxpayers in Merton, £11,741 better off than Kingston taxpayers and £12,108 better off than Richmond's.
The study was based on actual Band D council tax bills across London, which showed that over the course of the two decades, Wandsworth residents had enjoyed accumulated savings of £8,600 compared to the average Londoner.