Council tax in Harrow is set to rise by around five per cent next year, with the council facing a budget gap of almost £31 million.

Cllr Adam Swersky, who is responsible for finance at Harrow Council, will present a draft budget for 2021/22 at a council cabinet meeting on Thursday (December 17).

A council report shows it intends to put forward a balanced budget for next year, but in order to achieve this, council tax in the borough will go up by 4.99 per cent, of which three per cent will be ringfenced for social care.

It will also have to plug a budget gap of £8.25 million, which it intends to do so through non-general fund reserves.

There are expected to be some cuts to children’s services, while customer services will be reduced.

In addition to this, the report shows the council is facing pressures of around £31 million across 2022/23 and 2023/24.

The report pointed out that, even prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, “local government finances continued to have a very difficult decade”.

This, it explained, is down to a combination of reduced government funding and an increasing demand for social care due to an ageing population.

It also noted that Harrow remains one of “the lowest funded councils both nationally and within London”, making each budget-setting process a “considerable challenge”.

If approved by cabinet, the draft budget will be up for consultation before any implementation next year.