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Feb 25 2017

Council Tax up almost 5% in Harrow

Harrow’s Labour-run administration, like 147 other councils across the country, has chosen to increase council tax by 4.99% – the maximum it can get away with without having to hold a referendum, a vote of confidence in the administration, if you like, on the increase.

This doesn’t necessarily mean residents will see an increase limited to that though: Some people will pay more as the 4.99% cap only has to be the “average” rise across the area. So for Swindon Borough Council, for example, householders in some council tax bands will see a 3.12% rise, whilst others will see a 7.28% rise – with the average staying within the rules (source: BBC).

The increase is going to hit some people hard, despite the council saying it will allocate more than £10 million in new spending for the most essential services that residents rely on. If then goes on to define those services as including additional litter bins.

Nowhere, though, does it look to it’s own administrative spending: the costly Chief Executive, the countless £100,000+ payoffs to senior officers, the (well-paid) seats on cabinet to placate errant group members.

Just about the only idea that the council has got right, other than entirely unenforced speed limits around schools, and banning smoking in kids playgrounds, is the £10 deal to collect old mattresses, in – too little, too late – efforts to combat fly tipping.

Frankly, the council should be looking at the other councils which didn’t raise council tax, and figure out a way to emulate them.

Finally, we’re not sure what this line in the PR spin is supposed to mean: “…and a lasting food, arts and culture offer to help boost Harrow’s night-time economy. ” Anybody who’s been in the town centre at night will have found themselves avoiding groups of drunk youths either urinating in corners or vomiting in the streets, whilst surrounded by takeaways that rank amongst the worst in the UK for food hygiene standards. Arts and culture? Wasn’t that to be practically given away to Cultura, a deal which ended in tears when the story got out?

 

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  1. Wealdstone Warrior

    Harrow Council is not fit for purpose and a vote of no confidence needs to be raised against the Leader Cllr Sachin Shah and the rest of the Labour Cllr’s. If Hillingdon can freeze Council tax, so can Harrow. Why are the residents of Harrow having to pick up the costs of the Councils failures? No wonder residents are selling up and moving out of Harrow altogether.

    As for Harrow’s night-time economy, the only business in Harrow that appears to be flourishing is the drugs business and I don’t mean your local pharmacy! No prescription required, just turn up on the local street corner in Wealdstone.

    1. red mirror

      yes warrior and the irony being that the drug dealers probably don’t pay council tax. You know it is hard to believe but the police will spend their time supporting debt collecting agencies to take folks goods (illegally )for non payment of council tax which is not a lawful tax anyway and assist in ruining peoples lives but wont get off their doughnut filled arses to nick the plethora of local class a drug dealers .WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? now i have said this before and i will say it again when the corporate merge with the state you have fascism plain and simple.Now to quote mark twain politicians are like diapers they need changing often and for the same reason.i would like to add cllrs to that quote.

  2. Johnsmith

    Harow are robber barons who take your money run and hide in the corner hiding Sachin shah the parrot and money bags lock wood and also the councillors

  3. John smith

    We the residents need to rebel against this draconian council tax rises. Pay only the reasonable tax only pay the balance on demand.zEarn the balance on deposit in the building society even though the rate is low. Just wait until. 2018 when we can throw the council out. VOTE independent and you.will see the changes for the better. JOHN SMITH

  4. John williams

    We the residents need to rebel against this draconian council tax rises. Pay only the reasonable tax only pay the balance on demand.zEarn the balance on deposit in the building society even though the rate is low. Just wait until. 2018 when we can throw the council out. VOTE independent and you.will see the changes for the better. JOHN williams

  5. Maya Rani

    I hope that all the misinformed who voted for this shoddy bunch of crooks to lead our council are happy to pay this increase! Hillingdon has frozen theirs presumably because they have a sensible, well run council. Sachin Shah and that [censored] Michael Lockwood have done nothing but [censored]. I honestly wish that the hard working council tax payers of Harrow would join together and refuse to pay the increase. Surely, they cant chuck us all in jail? And Red Mirror, you comments on the drug dealers in Wealdstone is spot on. Today another murder in Wealdstone. What have Harrow Council achieved? Nothing!

    [footnote: censored by iharrow.com as indicated, as the comments, whilst possibly true, might have landed us in hot water!]

  6. Someonewhocares

    As stated another *147* Councils are doing the same, typically their administrations (regardless of party) are imposing a ‘3% increase to address adult social care funding pressures, plus a 1.99% general increase’.

    Again ALL these Councils have had their CENTRAL GOVERNMENT fundings cut – so guess what ? – WE make up the resultant shortfall. Perhaps we need to see this for what it is then, *indirect taxation* (and frankly we should expect more of the same)

    Incidentally Hillingdon get special dispensation/s due to the proximity of Heathrow.

  7. Someonewhocares

    Source: FT

    “Almost every English council is preparing to raise local taxes, with 80 per cent saying they need more money to cover the increasing cost of care for the elderly and disabled, according to new research.

    A survey by the Local Government Information Unit and the Municipal Journal, has found that 94 per cent of councils plan to increase council tax bills and charge more for local services.

    Four out of five councils plan to use a new *council tax precept* which the government is introducing. The measure, announced last year, gives councils discretion to raise up to 6 per cent in additional taxation over two years in order to provide additional funds to finance care services for the elderly.

    Critics say this places the burden on the poorest and argue that social care funding should be a national priority, not determined locally.

    According to the LGIU, just 4 per cent of councils said that the additional revenues raised would be enough to close the funding gap, and 65 per cent said they would have to spend their financial reserves in order to close the gap.

    Four in 10 councils are also planning to cut services.

    Collectively, local authorities face a funding gap of £2.6bn by 2020, largely as a result of cuts in central government funding.

    Jonathan Carr-West, LGIU chief executive, said that local government finances were “in a dire state” and warned that some councils were facing bankruptcy.

    The government’s council tax reform was “simply a stopgap”, he said….. “

  8. Wealdstone Warrior

    Someonewhocares are you a friend of Polly Parrot and chums? I’m sure if Polly & chums could raise council Tax above the restricted level, they would have done.

    I am starting to wonder why I bother to go to work as whatever I seem to earn is going out of my pocket in the form of tax. So whereby the personal allowance threshold gets increased, I get taxed by crooked Harrow Council. No wonder people are selling up and moving out of Harrow. No point me contemplating buying a property in Harrow, I may look to pastures new and a nice conservative run area where they freeze the council tax.

    1. Someonewhocares

      I just don’t like to see things being mis-quoted and being taken out of context….. and you do know that the (very) Conservative SURREY Council wanted to push it up by 15%, right?

      If you don’t believe me just Google ‘Council Tax Precept’ for more details! And Osborne first introduced this (@2%) in his 2015 Autumn budget then last year Hammond & Co. raised it to 3% and so on… and as I said expect more of the same as the Councils say it is still not enough to cover the cuts imposed.

      See:

      http://www.publicfinance.co.uk/news/2016/12/council-tax-precept-could-rise-tackle-social-care-crisis

      Particularly

      “On this measure, the 10 least deprived council areas this year will raise almost two-and-a-half times as much from the precept as the 10 most deprived. The amount raised per head of the adult population varies from £5 in Newham and Manchester, to £15 in Richmond on Thames (£10 in the prime minister’s Maidenhead constituency).”

      I am not a big supporter of the ‘take it with one hand give it with another’ (and ‘don’t worry it is fairer and/or neutral’ and ‘it will be good for everybody’ School of Spin’

      Don’t get me wrong though I am not a big fan of our Labour Council either; But, and on your comments about personal tax, if for example the Government decides to raise such taxes are you going to blame HMRC for asking you for it? PS: Don’t Shoot The Messenger!

  9. Wealdstone Warrior

    Someonewhocares, the personal allowance I was referring to is the tax free personal allowance, that was raised by the government and it is not an income tax increase. To simplify this means any earnings or income up to £11,000 are tax free, any earnings after this amount are taxed at the basic rate of 20%, then a higher rate of 40% if you are a high earner in this tax year of 2016/2017. The tax free personal allowance will increase to £11,200 from 6th April tax year 2017/18 and so on.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/income-tax-personal-allowance-and-basic-rate-limit-for-2016-to-2017/income-tax-personal-allowance-and-basic-rate-limit-for-2016-to-2017

    1. Someonewhocares

      Yes I realised that WW – but I also note you did not respond to my other comments though!

      Perhaps you can start by explaining why many CONSERVATIVE Councils are increasing Council Tax by almost 5% ? And THEY will also increase Council Taxes again when it is reailsed that 5% will not cover the cost of the cuts imposed.

      And what exactly is your answer to the very real CENTRAL GOVERNMENT cuts? There is no point in them fooling us with slight personal allowance increases when they – CENTRAL GOVERNMENT – are also introducing Council Tax Precepts which take it away. That’s what I meant of course with my ‘give it with one hand take it with another’ remark. As stated they are effectively just shifting our taxes from income Tax to Council tax (and they know this but don’t care)! It’s what ALL clueless Chancellors do though of course.

  10. Wealdstone Warrior

    Someonewhocares, just a thought why don’t you contact Phil Hammond and ask him why there are so many cuts and publish the response on this site. Phil’s contact details are here: https://www.parliament.uk/biographies/commons/philip-hammond/105

    I would do it myself, but I am far too busy working earning a crust to pay for my Council Tax bill, that our dear Labour council have decided to increase.

  11. Someonewhocares

    Well at least you accept the cuts are real then…

    And there is no need to contact Hammond of course as these cuts have been in the system for some years, thanks to the DCLG (and dating back to Eric Pickles of course). I can see you are busy (for instance avoiding ‘difficult’ questions and calling Shah ‘Parrot’ so repetitively now you have become one yourself) but when you do have some time perhaps you could find some areas of the country where cuts were NOT made (by DCLG):-

    http://ig.ft.com/sites/2015/local-cuts-checker/

    I am not quite sure which parts of my “just Google ‘Council Tax Precept’ for more details!” you are unable to relate to so perhaps your are just too busy to face the facts!?

    1. Someonewhocares

      You.re not going to bother Googling, are you WW?
      Ok, then this is only 15 pages and may help:

      http://www.local.gov.uk/documents/10180/5854661/Under+pressure.pdf

      Yes, these cuts have been planned for some years now, are quite deliberate, and reply on many (apparently uniformed or unwilling to research further) blaming their own Councils.

  12. Wealdstone Warrior

    Someonewhocares, my lunch break is nearly over and no I am not going to google, when you have so kindly provided this information, that I not going to even read (I might glance at it when I have a few spare seconds). Have you read the Labour manifesto? They were planning to make the same cuts if they got elected. Now I’m starting to sound like Polly – “cuts, cuts cuts!”

    Enjoy the rest of the afternoon :), Hi Ho, Hi Ho its back to work I go……..to put the kettle on and make a nice cup of tea.

    1. Someonewhocares

      Nice to know you have had time to read through the Labour Manifesto WW (or at least have claimed to) when you don’t seem to have time to research the reality of the ‘cuts’ situation; Perhaps when you have finished your cup of tea -and a bowl of nuts (squark !!)- you could post the relevant part/s of it up here. We could go round like this all day but you probably think I am just ‘trying to confuse you with the facts when you have, in fact, already made your mind up’ anyway?! However there is surely enough information in the Public Domain (if you bother to look at it) which will suitably clarify and open your mind too!

  13. Wealdstone Warrior

    So Polly & chums increase Harrows council tax by 4.99% and blame it on Tory cuts to pay for social care in the Borough. So the Chancellor has just announced today £2bn will be given/shared out to local authorities for social care spending over the next 3 years. £1bn to be given in 2017.

    So will our greedy Labour Council be revisiting their budget, which all Labour Councillors voted to go through and did not oppose and will we be getting a refund and lower Council tax bills, as a result of todays budget?

    Harrows Labour run Council cannot justify the increase if they are going to get a mass cash injection into social care from the government. As the next cabinet meeting has been cancelled for the 16th March there is not a chance to ask this question to the Polly and his cabinet chums, as according to Polly there is not anything to discuss! It is a real shambles!

  14. Someonewhocares

    Well ‘Polly WW’, do you actually think ANY of the Councils (Tory and Labour) announcing 5% increases will now re-visit them? Of course not – to do so would be naiive (and it is all deliberate timing by Hammond & Co. too) – but the real problem is that 5% will not plug the gap unfortunately (as you would have realised if you had bothered to follow up on those links provided).

    Wait, you don’t think the Government had actually realised they have overdone the cuts and this was a ‘TWOHAGWTA’ attempt to remedy that? No, of course not…

    (“Take With One Hand And Give With The Other” = financial nonsense, especially in the face of a £1.7 TRILLION deficit)

    PS: PSTBP = ‘Please See The Bigger Picture’ – you know if makes sense!

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