Poorer families in Harrow are paying more council tax than any other London borough, according to a new report.

The data, which was published in ‘London’s Poverty Profile’, showed that low-income households in Harrow paid £384 on average in 2016/17. Comparatively, those in Hounslow and Islington were charged less than £100.

It comes following government alterations to the council tax benefit system, which saw some of the country’s most needy families lose their benefits.

Many of these did not pay any council tax, but a move towards a new support system under the last coalition Government shifted responsibility to local authorities.

Councils adopted various methods, such as introducing a ‘minimum payment’ scheme, and the result has seen Harrow residents paying more than anyone else in London.

Harrow Council defended these statistics, claiming how, historically, it has received some of the worst funding per person from the Government across the whole of the UK.

It also pointed to the support systems it offers and the fact that it was faced with difficult decisions when told to find extra funding.

A spokesperson said: “This current government failed to put the needs of the poorest people first when it localised and cut the funding for the council tax support scheme.

“We were forced to either cut frontline services, such as social care, or ask people to pay more than they used to.

“However, we do have many measures in place to assist Harrow residents – such as discretionary housing payments and our emergency relief efforts.

“We are always looking at ways we can support residents with council tax, such as our move to exempt care leavers for a period of time.”

The research, which was carried out by Trust for London and the New Policy Institute, also criticised the approach to affordable housing in Harrow.

It found that the amount of affordable rental housing in the borough decreased by 102 homes between 2013/14 and 2015/16 inclusive, meaning that more affordable rental housing was demolished or converted into different accommodation than was completed in that three year period.

When shared ownership is taken into account the total increase stood at two per cent, which was the second-lowest rate in the capital after Bexley.

But the council responded by reiterating its commitment to rebuilding and expanding housing on its estates and noted how, last year, it built the first council homes in a generation.

It added that it has had “huge success” in encouraging private developers to increase the proportion of affordable homes when they build in the region.

Mubin Huq, director of policy at the Trust for London, said: “Harrow’s progress in addressing poverty is a case of the good, the bad and the ugly.

“In a number of areas it is performing well, especially in relation to some health and educational outcomes. 

“But it is doing poorly in relation to affordable housing. Harrow compares badly to the rest of London where nearly a quarter of all homes were affordable. 

“When it comes to council tax and low income families it is the least progressive amongst London’s boroughs.

“Families who would have been supported through Council Tax Benefit are having to pay nearly £400 a year. Given the squeeze on living standards more help is needed for those on low incomes.”