I have got used to my own borough being the only council in London to cut the Council Tax. This year we are to be joined by at least one other – Havering who have achieved a 0.5% cut. This may be modest but is likely to be much welcomed by their residents.
Their leader, Cllr Michael White, is an old friend from the YCs. (We used to call him Mick back then.) Congratulations to him.
Cllr White says:
"I am delighted to propose a cut in Havering's council tax. The 2009 year was tough for many local people, so one way we can help is by setting our residents' council tax bills a little lower than they were last year.
"This is a small tax cut, but it demonstrates big progress. Over the last few years, we have steadily reduced the annual increases to the council tax, to the point where we can now offer a tax cut, without the need to cut services. We know that we face a challenging future, but our disciplined approach to managing tax payers' money means that we're better placed than many councils to deliver high-quality services in tough financial times."
This is a particular achievement given the Govenment's cash grab on Freedom Pass funding which has left Havering with a £2 million which they have had to fill. I will ask Cllr White to write a piece for us on how he has achieved this tax cut.