Bills will rise by 3% from April
Merton residents will be paying more council tax from April after a decision at a full council meeting on Wednesday (February 28).
Merton Borough Council has taken the decision to increase council tax by 3%, and says all of the £2.4m raised will be used to contribute to the additional £9.6m a year allocated to adult social care services agreed at last year’s council meeting.
But Local Deaf and Disabled people’s organisation Merton Centre for Independent Living (Merton CIL) says it has repeatedly asked the Council to consult with local people on their plans and claims £2.2m is being cut from the adult social care budget.
However for the sixth year running, the council has agreed to absorb the government’s 2012 reduction in council tax support, ensuring residents on low incomes continue to receive the same amount of council tax support as in previous years. Merton says it is only one of a handful of the 300 councils across the country to have kept this support in place.
The 3% rise includes the flexibility to spend 1% on adult social care. The rise will result in a Band D Council Tax bill of £1,169.36.
Last year the Labour-led council broke its 2014 election pledge to freeze council tax when it implemented a 3% rise. Many other councils have increased their council tax by 5.99% this year, the maximum the Government will allow without the need for a referendum.
Lyla Adwan-Kamara, CEO of Merton CIL, said: "I have grave concerns about the decision-making process and the lack of consultation."
But Councillor Mark Allison, Cabinet Member for Finance said: “This has been a tough decade for families’ finances, with less money to go around and so many more things we want to spend it on. It’s been exactly the same for the council.
“We want Merton to be a great place for families to live and grow up, but that means having to be careful with the pennies. By taking a business-like approach, making tough decisions, and working with partners to be more efficient, we’re able to have a new library and a new leisure centre, and more support for our older people. And with austerity not likely to end for some time, we’ll continue to do our best to fight for what our residents want.”
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March 2, 2018