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80p council tax rise will help protect frontline services

Council tax bills across Camden are set to increase for only the third time in a decade, if councillors agree proposals at a meeting on 29 February.

The rise – which equates to just 80p extra a week for residents living in a Band D property – will provide vital funds to help protect frontline services.

Had bills risen in line with inflation over the last 10 years, they would be 23% (or £254) higher than those residents will shortly be receiving.

Leader of Camden Council, Councillor Sarah Hayward, said: “We’ve worked hard to deliver value for money in the services we provide, and keep council tax bills low. We have, however, reached a point where government cuts to funding, coupled with pressures from an ageing population mean we have little choice but to make a small increase. This money will be used to protect the services people value most and fund vital improvements to our borough.”

The council is again facing a significant financial challenge this year with its funding being continually squeezed. Since 2011/12 the authority has had to reduce its budget by an average of £24 million every year in response to cuts to the funding it receives from central government.

In addition, Camden’s older population (over 65) is expected to increase by 22% over next 10 years, creating significant pressures in the council’s social care budget.

Despite the financial challenges, the council is still delivering much-needed improvements in the borough.

Councillor Hayward added: “We are still determined to make a difference for our residents. We have one of the largest house building programmes in the country, the best primary schools in the country and we are investing more in community facilities than the borough has ever seen. We’re making a real difference by creating jobs, building homes and reducing child poverty.”

If approved, the increase to bills will be made up of two parts: a 1.99% rise to the Camden element of council tax and a 2% social care precept that the government has said can be added to bills and spent only on services to support vulnerable adults.

The first part will provide £1.82 million per year which cannot be cut by government and will help protect services in the future, whilst the second will generate £1.83 million to plug some of the gap in social care funding.

The report – to be presented to Council on Monday 29 February – can be found here.