Council tax set to rise as Waltham Forest tackles budget gap

Council tax is set to rise by 4.99 per cent again next year as leaders at Waltham Forest grapples with £28million budget gap over the next three years.

A 4.99 per cent increase would mean council tax for a band D household, which paid £2,055.55 this year, will increase by at least £80.90 in April.

However, this does not include the additional charge levied by the Greater London Authority, which increased by 9.7 per cent last April.

A monthly finance update published today (November 30), says finance officers are assuming that council tax increases will fall to 1.99 per cent in subsequent years.

It adds that the council’s day-to-day spending on services, known as revenue, is likely to be £15m over budget.

The biggest demands on the council’s budget continue to be social care for the elderly, children and people with disabilities, as well as housing residents at risk of becoming homeless.

The overall spend on building projects, or capital, which is a separate budget to day-to-day spending, has increased by £153m to £485m.

Capital spending is mostly funded by borrowing and repaid over several years, but is also funded by sales of property and other assets.

The finance update also says council staff will receive pay awards averaging at about 6.5 per cent per worker, costing the council £3m more than it expected when it budgeted for a 4 per cent pay award rate from April 2022.

The finance update will be formally approved at a cabinet meeting on Thursday December 7 at 10am.

To read the council reports, visit this link: https://democracy.walthamforest.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?MId=5744&x=1

To watch a video of the meeting, visit this link: https://civico.net/walthamforest

Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter