Ealingâ€™s Conservative administration announced today a freeze in Council Tax for the 2009/10 financial year. Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance, Cllr David Scott explained:
We recognise that the economic downturn is affecting the money in peopleâ€™s pockets and residents are looking to make savings in their own budgets. It is only right that the Council does the same thing and does not add to the pressures households are facing.
I am pleased we have been able to deliver a zero increase this year. We face major hurdles with falling Government grants â€“ below average settlements for the fourth year running â€“ and increased demand from residents who are facing difficulties and are in need of our services.
Yet we have still achieved the zero increase by finding nearly Â£9M in efficiency savings which will protect front line services and deliver better value for money.
When elected in 2006, the Conservative administration promised to keep any Council tax increases to below inflation. After two successive years of below inflation increases, the real level of Council tax has actually fallen since 2006 and gone down from 23rd to 18th lowest out of Londonâ€™s 33 Boroughs. In the four years to 2006, the previous Labour administration increased Council Tax by 48% – the second highest increase in London. Over their twelve year period leading Ealing Council (1994-2006) Labour increased Council Tax by more than all but one of Londonâ€™s 33 Councils. Labourâ€™s huge increases in Council Tax came despite the fact that prior to 2006 Ealing enjoyed above average increases in Government grant, a trend that has since reversed.