Waltham Forest council tax increase confirmed

Council tax for the average Waltham Forest home is set to rise to £2,173.72 from April this year.

The hike of 5.7 per cent will see annual tax bills for band D properties hiked by £117.45. It will increase those properties’ average monthly bill by £9.84, to a total of £181.14.

Waltham Forest’s 60 councillors are due to vote on the increase at a full council meeting on 29th February.

Increasing council tax comes alongside plans to cut costs and increase income by £18million over the next two years.

The cuts will affect a range of services including care and support for the elderly, services for the disabled, temporary housing for homeless families and council departments such as the communications team.

At a budget scrutiny meeting on February 20 neither council leader Grace Williams, nor the committee’s Labour and Conservative members mentioned the increase.

Waltham Forest’s most senior finance officer Rob Manning has said several “difficult” pressures have hit the council “at the same time” – including high interest rates, inflation and “unprecedented service demand”.

This has resulted in a predicted budget shortfall of about £30m over the next three years.

Council tax bands run from A to H and are based on the value of properties in 1991.

In Waltham Forest, residents of band A properties pay a total of £1,134.88 per year while band H residents pay £3,404.64.

More than three quarters of the bill – £1,702 – goes to the council, which has chosen to increase its share by 4.99 per cent this year, the maximum amount allowed without holding a local referendum.

In 2024/25, council tax is expected to bring about £138m into Waltham Forest’s accounts.

In 2022, the council confirmed it has a strategy of attracting more households to the borough to increase its income from the tax.

The rest of the total council tax bill goes to the Greater London Authority, which is run by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

This year, the Mayor has increased his share – which is not capped in the same way as the council’s – by 8.6 per cent to £471.40.

The Mayor has said this increase is needed due to “insufficient” government funding for the services he oversees, which include policing, transport and city-wide strategies such as housing and economic development.

Waltham Forest’s cabinet is due to approve the budget on Thursday February 22 at 2pm, ahead of a full council meeting on February 29 at 7:30pm.

To watch the meetings, visit: https://civico.net/walthamforest

Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter