Council tax set to rise in Westminster to fund adult social care
Charlotte Alt and Hannah Neary, Local Democracy Reporter
- Credit: Hannah Neary
Council tax will rise this year in Westminster to fund adult social care services.
The city council has agreed to increase council tax by £4.64 annually, or 9p per week, for Band D properties.
During a budget meeting last Wednesday (March 2), the council agreed to freeze general payment levels, with a 1% increase to fund adult social care services.
Council tax in Westminster remains the lowest rate in the country, at £468.54 for a band D property.
The council will make cuts totalling £7.3 million to balance its books.
This includes a reduction of £1.6 million in adult social care, £658,000 in children’s services and £2.7 million in the environment and city management.
Conservative councillor Paul Swaddle, cabinet member for finance, said keeping council tax stable would benefit vulnerable residents in need of specialised services.
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He said: “This includes addressing the impact of Covid-19 on residents, providing mental health and wellbeing support for all those who need it, our commitment to the borough-wide dementia plan and trialling ‘smart city’ assistive technologies.”
The council agreed to continue the council tax support scheme for the next year.
Cllr Swaddle said: “We understand how tough the past few years have been on everyone and how tough the year ahead may be, so we want to support our local residents in any way we can.”
Labour proposed an amendment to freeze council rents until 2023 and council tax until 2024.
The Conservative-led authority voted against both amendments.
Labour also proposed holding a “zero-based” budget review.
Labour councillor Adam Hug said: “Boris Johnson’s Conservatives here in Westminster have been wasting your money and taking you for fools.
“They have become tired, out-of-touch and incompetent, wasting 6m on the Marble Arch Mound while local people struggle with rising bills.”
The Conservatives voted against the review.
The Conservatives also almost did not vote for their own budget. After no one raised their hand when Lord Mayor Andrew Smith called for a vote on the unamended budget and Labour voted against it, procedural issues were claimed at fault before the vote was rerun and the Conservative majority approved the budget for the next year.