4.99% Council Tax rise to support vital services

As Camden Council and its partners face a growing cost-of-living crisis and pressures on social care, it is having to raise Council Tax by 4.99% to support communities most in need.

Camden Council has agreed a 4.99% Council Tax rise at its Full Council meeting yesterday (Monday, 27 February). The rise would be made up of a 2.99% increase in core council tax levels to support vital council services such as children’s services, libraries and community safety, and a 2% rise specifically to respond to the unprecedented demographic and demand pressures facing adult social care.

The Council will continue to provide support for families most impacted by the cost-of-living crisis. This includes:

  • investing £1.3 million in a family support fund focused on tackling food hunger in secondary school, helping families buy school uniforms and providing free healthy school breakfasts to children from low-income families;
  • making the Mayor of London’s scheme to provide free school meals for primary school children a permanent offer in Camden;
  • extending the borough’s holiday food voucher scheme;
  • investing another £2 million in our cost of living crisis fund to help residents who cannot afford essentials like food or energy bills.

The Council Tax rise will also support the Council to back its voluntary sector and community partners – who play a vital role in support Camden’s communities through the cost-of-living crisis. This includes a £1.9m resilience fund and £4m a year in grant funding to support the borough’s voluntary sector to deliver vital services including providing housing and welfare benefits advice, food banks, support for people affected by domestic violence, women’s centres, services for disabled people and support for those rough sleeping.

A range of day-to-day services, including continued investment in family support services that focus on the critical initial years of Camden’s children’s lives and an ambitious programme of action to tackle the climate crisis will also be funded by the Council Tax rise.

Councillor Richard Olszewski, Cabinet Member for Finance and Cost of Living

This is a cost of living budget - those most in need are our highest priority and the budget is designed to give them the maximum help we can, with the limited resources we have. We are protecting our residents who cannot afford a rise in their Council Tax bills while ensuring we put the council and its partners in the best possible financial position to respond to the significant economic, social, and environmental challenges we face.

We’ve faced huge Government cuts to our budget, which means we’ve had to make around £200m in savings since 2010. We will always stick to our key principles – that no-one in Camden gets left behind. This means a big focus on early intervention – we know that if we continue to invest in our children in the first few years of their lives, they will have far better life outcomes. We are also investing the maximum amount we are able to in social care to support our adult residents lead healthy, independent lives, for as long as possible.

We know the next few months will continue to be hard for our residents. So far we’ve helped 2,600 households through our cost-of-living fund, and we’ll continue to do whatever it takes to support them.

Councillor Richard Olszewski, Cabinet Member for Finance and Cost of Living

Camden’s Cabinet agreed it’s Medium Term Financial Strategy in January.

Camden’s continued commitment to early intervention and investment includes:

  • Maintaining the Sure Start provision and investing in schools and family support services. Camden Council’s children’s services were rated Outstanding by Ofsted in 2022.
  • Spending £130m to buy back 280 former Right-to-Buy, spacious, family sized homes to help reduce homelessness and overcrowding.
  • Expanding its housebuilding programme to deliver over 2,600 affordable homes. The Council’s house building programme has so far provided larger Council homes to over 1,000 residents including 453 children, many of whom previously lived in overcrowded homes.
  • Tackling the climate crisis by establishing Healthy Streets, installing solar panels on housing estate roofs and electric charging points and ‘greening’ the Council’s transport fleet, all financed through creating a Camden Local Climate Bond. Responding to climate crisis runs through the Council’s spending commitments and savings proposals.

Camden Council is continuing to support its residents through the cost-of-living crisis through measures including:

  • A £2m Cost of Living Crisis Fund, providing payment of up to £500 to individual residents or families facing severe financial hardship who have no other source of monetary support available.
  • Investing £300,000 to support Magic Breakfast charity to provide free healthy school breakfasts to prevent children from low-income families starting the school day hungry.
  • Providing food vouchers for families with children up to 18 who are eligible for free school meals or in receipt of Council Tax support or Housing benefit during the school holidays.
  • Free support to find a new or better paid job, or training opportunities, through Good Work Camden.