Of those councils who have declared their Council Tax policies for next year the vast majority are forecasting an increase. It's a sad state of affairs. However, a few councils are showing that bills can be cut while still delivering services. Hammersmith and Fulham have continued to reduce bills under their new administration, but the gold star is currently going to Windsor and Maidenhead.
This year’s proposed cut of 2.1 per cent will bring the cumulative, real terms cut over the past six years up to 30 per cent – a laudable achievement which demonstrates to other councils that it can be done. Much of the savings have been achieved by sharing services and improving council procurement but others have been more unusual. By spending small sums on minor adaptations to the homes of elderly people – like hand rails on staircases – allowing people to stay in their homes and saving the council hundreds of thousands.
Councils ratcheting up those rates while waste and excess still exists in local government could certainly learn from Windsor and Maidenhead’s example. There is clearly potential in many councils for delivering services more innovatively and efficiently to cut bills for hard-pressed residents.