Local government minister says Harrow Borough Council's council tax rise is 'wrong'

A local government minister has described Harrow Borough Council’s decision to increase its council tax bill as “wrong”.

Brandon Lewis MP has reacted to yesterday’s announcement that the authority's share of the tax bill will rise by two per cent from April.

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.

The minister said: "Every local resident will be dismayed by this flagrant democracy-dodging.

“Harrow Council is doing hardworking families and pensioners a real disservice by raising their council tax to a hair's breadth below the trigger level in order to avoid a public vote instead of taking up this government's offer to help fund a freeze for the third year in a row.

"Increasing council tax at this time is wrong. Councillors trying to undercut democracy in this way will find out what residents really think about their money being snatched money away on the doorstep or through a kick in the ballot box."

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.

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.”
 

Comments (4)

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3:00pm Thu 17 Jan 13

starbright says...

Brandon Lewis is right! The govt were prepared to offer a rebate to help Local Authorities do the decent thing and freeze council tax. Harrow Council is greedy, incompetent, not decent and only care about themselves. Maybe it is time to make a stand and organise a peaceful demonstration outside the civic centre in protest!
Brandon Lewis is right! The govt were prepared to offer a rebate to help Local Authorities do the decent thing and freeze council tax. Harrow Council is greedy, incompetent, not decent and only care about themselves. Maybe it is time to make a stand and organise a peaceful demonstration outside the civic centre in protest! starbright
  • Score: 0

3:10pm Thu 17 Jan 13

HarrowResident1 says...

Sooner this sham of a council in harrow is replaced the better. People are struggling to make ends meet and they are piling on more charges. Over many years harrow has become a third world place, just need to look at the area around central harrow, it's a disgrace and the council have the cheek to charge us more for the mess they continue to make.
Sooner this sham of a council in harrow is replaced the better. People are struggling to make ends meet and they are piling on more charges. Over many years harrow has become a third world place, just need to look at the area around central harrow, it's a disgrace and the council have the cheek to charge us more for the mess they continue to make. HarrowResident1
  • Score: 0

5:18pm Thu 17 Jan 13

starbright says...

Could not agree more HarrowResident1! Harrow Council should be ashamed of themselves!
Could not agree more HarrowResident1! Harrow Council should be ashamed of themselves! starbright
  • Score: 0

3:13pm Sun 20 Jan 13

Davidx says...

I agree with some of the sentiments. West Harrow election which is neither Tory nor Labour Ward, both parties have had claims in recent pas, will give us a clue!

The problems is that Cllrs - both administration and opposition - mostly - are keen to score political points rather than serve the Harrovians.

I would like to see the alternative budget by the opposition to help me make my mind up about a better way of presenting the budget to help the residents. Let's see Conservative alternative or in worst case, I am happy for UKIP to get a first Harrow seat.
I agree with some of the sentiments. West Harrow election which is neither Tory nor Labour Ward, both parties have had claims in recent pas, will give us a clue! The problems is that Cllrs - both administration and opposition - mostly - are keen to score political points rather than serve the Harrovians. I would like to see the alternative budget by the opposition to help me make my mind up about a better way of presenting the budget to help the residents. Let's see Conservative alternative or in worst case, I am happy for UKIP to get a first Harrow seat. Davidx
  • Score: 0

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