Maximum council tax increase for Havering

Council tax in Havering is set to increase by the maximum amount allowed from April this year.

The council will increase the tax on homes by 4.99%, the most it is allowed to without holding a local referendum.

Residents living in a band D property will see their total annual charge increase by £119.79 to £2,207.92.

The total increase also includes the Mayor of London’s share of council tax – known as the Greater London Authority (GLA) precept – which will also rise by 8.58%, significantly higher than Havering’s share.

This means residents of band D properties will pay the Mayor £471.40 next year, £37.26 more than last year.

Havering Council will bring in about £158million from council tax in 2024/25 – more than three quarters of its annual spending.

However, the council says its own tax increases will not be enough to pay for the soaring costs of adult social care, children’s welfare and temporary accommodation.

These costs have left the council in a severe financial crisis, with a £21m overspend this financial year and a £31m budget gap next year.

The council tax increase is due to be formally agreed by cabinet next week (7th February) followed by all of Havering’s councillors on 28th February.

To avoid having to declare itself effectively bankrupt by issuing a section 114 notice, the council is waiting to hear whether the government will approve a £54m loan.

Without the loan, the council says it would be forced to declare bankruptcy, which could result in even higher council tax increases, closures and sales of community buildings, redundancies and other cuts to services.

Details of the budget due to be approved by cabinet next week can be found on the council’s website: https://democracy.havering.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=153&MId=7681

Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter