Council tax in Bexley to rise for first time in five years
PUBLISHED: 12:22 09 March 2015 | UPDATED: 15:43 09 March 2015
Band C property – the most common in Bexley – will increase by £15.95 a year
Bexley’s council tax is to rise for the first time in five years.
Councillors have approved the council’s budget for 2015/16 – with the part of the council tax that covers Bexley’s services increasing by 1.9%, but bills will increase by 1.3% because the Mayor of London’s portion of the tax is decreasing.
This means the council tax on a Band C property – the most common in Bexley – will increase by £15.95 a year and for a property in Band D by £17.94.
Next year’s council budget includes £11 million of savings, as the council continues to adapt to ‘unprecedented changes in the way local councils are funded’.
Council leader Teresa O’Neill said: “Balancing the budget is becoming increasingly challenging and we know that some of the decisions we have been forced to make are not popular.
“The combination of the sharp fall in our government grant and increasing costs - particularly due to the growing number of vulnerable people who need social care and the rising cost of homelessness – has unfortunately left us with few options.
“We’ve reduced our budget significantly over the past nine years, largely through making efficiencies and implementing better ways of working. The best example of this is the move of our office-based staff from four sites into the Civic Offices. This is saving £1.5 million a year. It’s also financed investment in schools and the local community, as well as making land available for new housing.”
Cllr Gareth Bacon, deputy leader, added: “The budget fulfils our legal duty to balance the council’s budget and aims to protect frontline services and our vulnerable residents as far as this is possible.
“We will be making short-term use of the council’s financial reserves to fund our ambitious growth strategy, which will create new jobs and homes and put the Council on a firmer footing for the future.”
Cllr Bacon told last week’s council meeting that the government grant will provide 14% of the council’s funding next year, compared with 70% in 2006. The figure is expected to fall to 5% or less by 2018.
More detailed information on the council’s budget is available online at www.bexley.gov.uk/budget
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