The Council Tax increase has been confirmed at 3.4%. Only the LibDems could consider this a good news story, yet they gamely tried to justify it.
We were told that each of the neighbouring councils had bigger increases. This is true, though not the whole picture. Residents in Croydon, Merton and Surrey - all Conservative Councils - still pay far less that we do here in Sutton. One neighbour, Kingston not only had the third highest rise in London but retains the crown of having the highest tax burden of any London Borough. I'll leave you to guess who runs that Council (clue: same party as Richmond, the second highest tax bill in London).
Croydon residents know what they are getting for their extra money. £1.5m is being invested in extra policing and £4.75m is going into recycling initiatives including recycling facilities for every block of flats in Croydon, something we have failed to do in this Borough which sells its green virtues at every opportunity. Excluding flats means that a massive proportion of the residents in Sutton simply cannot recycle very easily. It also pushes the onus onto householders to meet targets that the Council sets.
This budget is merely treading water offering nothing new for residents except bigger bills. At the same time residents in Hammersmith and Fulham are seeing their bills cut by 3% for the second year in a row, there is a freeze for pensioners' bills in Hillingdon. Wandsworth and Westminster residents continue to pay just one-third of the amount than we do.