Tax freeze creates street divisions
CAMDEN'S decision to freeze council tax this year has pushed payment levels far below that of neighbouring boroughs. In Barnet, the average band D level will be �1,423.02 after the council increased levels by 2.8 per cent. In Haringey, the average is �1,
CAMDEN'S decision to freeze council tax this year has pushed payment levels far below that of neighbouring boroughs.
In Barnet, the average band D level will be �1,423.02 after the council increased levels by 2.8 per cent.
In Haringey, the average is �1,471.48 - a 1.95 per cent increase on last year.
But Camden is still lagging behind Westminster, which is keeping its average to �687.62.
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The differences have created an array of streets where people on one side are getting charged �100 less than the other.
Barnet opposition councillors are also hitting out at price hikes for services and cuts to areas such as the welfare rights advisory service.
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Lib Dem councillor Jack Cohen said: "We are very disappointed with the budget.
"Barnet Council has made �70million worth of cuts in the last five to six years so we can't understand why they are still making further cuts this year.
"They are also increasing council tax by 2.8 per cent - one of the highest increases in London."
But Conservative leader Mike Freer said: "Three-quarters of local government spending comes from government grants.
"Camden gets more than twice as much per head as Barnet - receiving more than �700 for each resident compared to only �280 in Barnet.
"Camden also has more than twice the amount of money stashed in reserves that Barnet does.
"If we received the grant level Camden got, we could easily freeze council tax. The question for Cllr Ralph Scott [Camden's finance boss] is surely why Camden can't actually cut its council tax and why it needs so much in reserves.