Redbridge council tax set to rise

Redbridge residents are likely to see their council tax bills increase in April, as the council prepares its budget for next year.

A proposed increase of 4.17 per cent will be decided at a full council meeting on February 24 and would see residents in band D homes pay an extra £74.55 a year.

In a public webinar about the proposed 2022/23 budget last week, deputy leader Kam Rai did not mention the rise in council tax but said government funding has dropped by a “stark” £87million since 2010.

Despite this, Cllr Rai said Redbridge Council has focused on “efficiency and transformation” to save money, rather than “service cuts”.

He added: “Technology helps us to look after more people, for example staff in care teams can look after people without having to pay visits all the time.

“You’ll see very few redundancies, our focus is how we transform the way we work.”

The council needs to close a “budget gap” of £74.3million by 2026/27 and plans to spend £5.7million less across its services in the next financial year.

Of the £7million in cuts planned for 2021/22, just over half have still not been achieved and have been “rolled over” to 2022/23.

Although Cllr Rai has avoided announcing specific job cuts in the past, he has said staff positions that are empty may not be filled to save money and voluntary redundancies are being offered.

Spending is expected to continue on social services to prevent more complicated and expensive issues later on.

The 4.17 per cent increase includes 1.99 per cent in council tax, 1 per cent for adult social care and 8 per cent for the Greater London Authority (GLA), which is responsible for transport, policing, housing and economic development.

Cllr Rai has emphasised that Redbridge only has control over the council tax increase of 1.99per cent and the 1 per cent for adult social care, which is ring-fenced for that service.

The GLA has been approached for comment on the reason for the 8 per cent increase.

Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter