Council tax set to rise by nearly 5pc in Camden next year

Camden Town Hall, in Judd Street

Camden Town Hall, in Judd Street - Credit: Archant

Camden Council is set to increase council tax next year by nearly five per cent.

The hike has been proposed in the borough’s Medium Term Financial Strategy review.

Last week the council’s cabinet discussed the increase, ahead of it going to full council in February.

Of the total 4.99pc increase, 3pc is to go towards Adult Social Care, and 1.99pc will fund the other services. The increase will raise around £3.1m in adult social care funding, and £2m towards services across the council.

A 4.99% increase translates to about £57 per year for a ‘band D’ property.

This will be the second time in as many years that council tax has gone up.

The rate hike is the maximum the council can propose without holding a referendum.

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Presenting the proposal to cabinet on Wednesday December 6, cabinet member for finance and transformation, Cllr Richard Olszewski defended the increase, and pointed out the cuts to council budgets since 2010.

“Our funding has been cut by £133million since 2010. If it had increased with RPI (retail price index) council tax for this year would be 19pc higher compared to 2007.”

In a statement, he said that the strategy review also meant the council were taking some residents out of paying council tax altogether.

“We are reducing the burden on those most affected due to low incomes, making Council Tax fairer for all.

“Our Council Tax Reduction Scheme continues to reduce the bill for more than 22,000 households, of which 16,478 are exempt from paying any Council Tax.

“We are also introducing a 100pc exemption from Council Tax for all current and future Camden care leavers, until the age of 25. This will give them time to adjust and develop the skills for managing finances, complete training and gain employment in a similar way to other young people are supported by their families,” he said.

At a scrutiny committee on December 5, councillor Abdul Quadir asked how sustainable two tax rises in two years was.

Neil Simcock, Camden’s head of strategic finance, who presented the paper said: “When the government allowed the increases, it was for a three year period. The decision was to do a three per cent rise in the first and second year, and the final year is nothing.”