Hammersmith & Fulham Cuts Tax

December 13, 2011 4:04 PM

Hammersmith & Fulham council (H&F) has announced that they are proposing to cut council tax next year by 3.75 per cent. This will be the fifth year in six where the council has managed to cut council tax. This saving is due to several cost cutting measures including combining services with Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea councils in order to cut management and overhead costs by half.

This tax cut will be realised without resorting to the kind of ‘bleeding stump’ approach of shutting libraries and cutting services that some councils have taken, say H&F:
“While planning to cut [council] tax, H&F is intending to freeze parking charges, keep all its libraries open, maintain weekly or even twice-weekly refuse collection and plough £1.3 million into extra town centre police.  It is also one of just two councils in London offering homecare to people in the ‘greater moderate’ as well as ‘substantial’ or ‘critical’ banding.”

Further savings are to be made by selling off underused property, co-locating services among other measures in order to pay off about half the council’s debt and reduce annual interest payments.

We are pleased to see that some councils are giving taxpayers a break. The dramatic savings that H&F are proposing show that other councils can follow suit with tax cuts by cutting out waste. Sharing services can be a sensible way forward, too. It's a shame that other councils are choosing to increase council tax, like Brighton & Hove who are looking to impose a 3.5 per cent hike.

The welcome move by the Department of Communities and Local Government to use money generated through other taxes to help councils freeze council tax bills cannot compete with genuine tax cuts. Funding from central government grants may be falling but since council tax has doubled over the last ten years, there is plenty of space for efficiency savings and for more creative solutions.

Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham council, spoke at a TaxPayers' Alliance fringe event at the 2011 Conservative Party Conference. He explained the position they were in when they took over and how things have changed since then. Council tax has fallen from one of the highest levels in the country to one of the lowest, while debt levels have been reduced at the same time.

Other councils should look at how tax cuts across the country have been achieved and copy good ideas.Hammersmith & Fulham council (H&F) has announced that they are proposing to cut council tax next year by 3.75 per cent. This will be the fifth year in six where the council has managed to cut council tax. This saving is due to several cost cutting measures including combining services with Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea councils in order to cut management and overhead costs by half.

This tax cut will be realised without resorting to the kind of ‘bleeding stump’ approach of shutting libraries and cutting services that some councils have taken, say H&F:
“While planning to cut [council] tax, H&F is intending to freeze parking charges, keep all its libraries open, maintain weekly or even twice-weekly refuse collection and plough £1.3 million into extra town centre police.  It is also one of just two councils in London offering homecare to people in the ‘greater moderate’ as well as ‘substantial’ or ‘critical’ banding.”

Further savings are to be made by selling off underused property, co-locating services among other measures in order to pay off about half the council’s debt and reduce annual interest payments.

We are pleased to see that some councils are giving taxpayers a break. The dramatic savings that H&F are proposing show that other councils can follow suit with tax cuts by cutting out waste. Sharing services can be a sensible way forward, too. It's a shame that other councils are choosing to increase council tax, like Brighton & Hove who are looking to impose a 3.5 per cent hike.

The welcome move by the Department of Communities and Local Government to use money generated through other taxes to help councils freeze council tax bills cannot compete with genuine tax cuts. Funding from central government grants may be falling but since council tax has doubled over the last ten years, there is plenty of space for efficiency savings and for more creative solutions.

Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham council, spoke at a TaxPayers' Alliance fringe event at the 2011 Conservative Party Conference. He explained the position they were in when they took over and how things have changed since then. Council tax has fallen from one of the highest levels in the country to one of the lowest, while debt levels have been reduced at the same time.

Other councils should look at how tax cuts across the country have been achieved and copy good ideas.

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