Merton Leader Aims To Freeze Council Tax

Consultation to follow before budget is set

Merton council leader Stephen Alambritis said he hoped council tax would be frozen in the borough for the third year in a row.

The Government has recently announced it will again subsidise councils in England who freeze their council tax.

Councillor Alambritis (left) said it would represent a subsidy of 1% for Merton borough in 2013-14.

The council tax will not be set before a full council meeting in March 2013. And Councillor Alambritis said there would be plenty of consultation with residents, councillors and council officers before the council's 2013-14 budget is fixed.

He said: "My natural instinct is to freeze council tax again, but it will entail some difficult decisions like last year.

"We need to bear in mind that our residents' own finances are currently under pressure, so I would like to see it frozen for a third year. We need to carefully consider the implications and it is up for debate."

Merton Conservative Finance Spokesman, Councillor Suzanne Grocott said: "I'm pleased that Merton once again has the opportunity to freeze its council tax thanks to the Government. We all recognise that times are tough and it can be difficult for residents in Merton to make ends meet.

"This council tax freeze would save the average family up to £72, and that is on top of the £148 already saved over the last two years, so I very much hope that Labour will put politics aside and embrace the Government's offer. 

  • Councillor Alambritis also said the council planned to absorb the effects of taking on the responsibility of council tax benefits. The Government is handing this responsibility to councils from 2013-14, while reducing the money available by 10%. Councillor Alambritis said the plan was for this 10% (representing £1.4m-£1.7m to Merton) not to be passed onto benefit recipients in the form of cuts. A consultation process will now follow before the plans are finalised.

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    October 14, 2012