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Harrow Council Tax to increase by two per cent
Harrow Borough Council has announced that it plans to raise its share of council tax by two per cent.
The authority announced today that its council tax for the 12 months from April will be two per cent higher than it is this financial year.
The decision has been made because the council has to find an extra £24million over the next two years.
The council says the situation in Harrow is worse than in other boroughs as the council has been allocated one of the lowest government grants of any local authority in the capital. Harrow receives £1,608 per resident whereas Brent gets £3,317 per person.
For Band D Council Tax payers the increase in their bill will work out at an extra 47p per week, or £23.97 a year.
Cllr Sachin Shah, portfolio holder for finance, said: “I didn’t come into politics to put up council tax and make cuts but that is the situation we have been put in by the Government.
“We have made this decision with a heavy heart and I appreciate that it is not going to please everyone.
“However, we are an outer London borough with inner London problems yet we have received half the amount of Government support as our neighbours in Brent.
“The unprecedented financial situation we are facing is not of our making and we have been faced with no other choice than to raise council tax by two per cent.
“The alternative is to make even deeper and more painful cuts to the services we know residents care about most.
“By April 2015, this council will have found savings of £75m and we are expecting to have to find a further £30m over the two years after that. By raising council tax now we are helping to protect services in the future.”
Jill Harrison, chief executive of Harrow Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) said: “These are very challenging times for local councils. CAB sees very many people who are already in financial difficulties and will struggle to pay more council tax.
“On the other hand, we are also seeing many very vulnerable older and disabled people who are completely dependent on the availability of vital council services like home care which are partly funded through the council tax.
“The council has to balance the need to keep any council tax increases as low as possible, whilst still protecting key front line services for local people most in need.”