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Harrow's Conservative group condemns Harrow Borough Council's decision to increase council tax
The leader of Harrow’s Conservative group says that Harrow Borough Council has “dashed residents’ hopes” by putting up council tax.
Councillor Susan Hall has reacted to yesterday’s announcement that the tax will increase by two per cent from April.
She said: “Councillor Shah has just confirmed what we’ve been saying since December; Labour is putting up Harrow’s council tax.
“For the first time, Harrow’s Band D council tax will smash past £1,500 – as our borough becomes the first in London and one of only a few to confirm a proposed increase.
“Cllr Shah owes me, but more importantly, all Harrow residents an apology for initially dismissing Labour’s planned increase as an ‘unfounded rumour’.
“He dashed residents’ hopes by insisting his draft budget wasn’t set in stone, only to confirm their council tax is going up. Residents deserve better than this cruel combination of indecision and incompetence.
“Labour have put themselves in this position because of their poor financial management over the last two and a half years, and residents can be assured that the Conservative group are fully against this increase.”
The decision to increase council tax 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.”