Council tax set to rise in Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest residents are likely to see their council tax rise by more than 4 per cent in April, according to the council’s proposed budget.

If the budget is approved at a full council meeting in early March, residents in band D properties will see their yearly bill increase by £76.77.

While some tax goes to the Greater London Authority, the remaining almost 3% increase will be paid to the council, with 1 per cent ring-fenced for adult social care.

Like many London boroughs, Waltham Forest Council is increasing its tax by the maximum amount possible without a referendum, due to a “very uncertain” financial future.

The council’s proposed budget report states its “strategy” for dealing with this is to attract more households – and thus more council tax – to the borough, as the tax makes up about half of its “core spending power”.

The report adds: “It is clear that the strategy of growing our tax base is providing real additional resources that will assist with managing growing demographic pressures and further planned reductions in government funding.”

If approved, the annual total for Band D properties will be £1,939.94, of which £395.59 will go to the Greater London Authority (GLA) to fund the city’s police and fire service, transport and economic development.

Council leader Grace Williams said: “Although no decision has been made, the government’s settlement means councils are left with the stark choice of either cutting vital services, at a time when residents need them most, or raising council tax.

“In the past ten years the share of our budget from the government has fallen by more than 70 per cent, leaving raising council tax as the only option.

“Throughout the pandemic we made sure the services that residents rely on most continued to deliver in difficult circumstances, whether that be providing support to victims of domestic violence, looking after older residents, keeping libraries open as a hub for the community or maintaining weekly bin collections.

“Whatever decision councillors make about the future funding of our services, we will continue to use council tax money to provide excellent services as well as fund the safety net those struggling with the cost of living crisis so desperately need.”

Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter