Dispute over plan to raise Camden council tax by 5%

Camden's finance lead Cllr Richard Olszewski (left) and Camden Conservatives leader Cllr Oliver Cooper

Camden Council’s finance chief Cllr Richard Olszewski and Camden Conservatives leader Cllr Oliver Cooper - Credit: Camden Council/Polly Hancock

The plan to raise council tax in Camden by 5% shows “disregard” to local residents, the town hall's opposition says.  

Residents in band D properties will see their bill for Camden Council rise by £64.43 for the year – up to £1,356.11.  

The Mayor of London is planning to raise City Hall's share by £6.41, to £338.71. So a band D household's total bill would be £1,694.82.

The legal maximum 5% rise includes 2% on core council funding and 3% on social care. The Camden recommendation is being put to the council’s cabinet on Wednesday (February 24), and will be voted on by all councillors on March 1. The hikes will start in April, at the beginning of the 2021/22 financial year, if approved.

The Labour-run council says the rise in tax will meet a “huge rebuilding job” from the “ravages” of Covid-19, but Camden Conservatives say the local authority is “milking” its residents.  

The move comes after the town hall’s audit committee recommended a 2.75% rise in councillors’ allowances on February 17.

Camden Conservatives leader Cllr Oliver Cooper said: “Camden is London’s bad value council. It spends more and more, but gets worse and worse results and affords less and less scrutiny.  

Most Read

“Instead of giving councillors a pay boost denied everyone else, allowances should be frozen, much like most of public’s pay cheques have been.” 

Cllr Cooper said that his local party tables a “balanced” budget amendment every year focusing on services such as restoring weekly bin collections and hiring more police. 

But Camden Council’s finance chief Cllr Richard Olszewski said the tax rises would aid the recovery from the pandemic.  

“We know it is a fine balance between raising revenue to pay for vital support services and the risk of further adding to households’ day to day financial pressures,” he said.  

“This is why we are continuing our council tax support scheme, which will help a fifth of our households, over 23,000 homes, who face the greatest hardship. 80% of these households will pay no council tax at all."

Cllr Olszewski continued: “Many long-term challenges also remain alongside Covid-19 and we will continue to invest in initiatives to bring about the fundamental change needed to combat the climate crisis and poor air quality, to end rough sleeping, to keep our young people safe and to help ensure our families have the welfare support they need when times are at their toughest.” 

The council said the increase in councillors' allowances was in line with the increase to its officers’ salaries in 2020/2021.