Some excellent news from City Hall this morning that the Mayor of London Boris Johnson is to cut by 1% his share of the Council Tax bill paid by Londoners. This follows three years where he has frozen the precept. Under the eight years of Ken Livingstone's Mayoralty, the GLA precept rose by 152% .
Since 2008 the three year freeze and today’s reduction means 16% saving in real terms for his portion of the council tax – compared to a rise in line with inflation.
"We should never take a penny off hard-pressed Londoners that is not needed to guarantee the safety of the city, to invest in the infrastructure that is vital for London's long-term survival or to help grow the economy. Thanks to the sensible savings we have achieved over the last three years we can deliver on all our priorities and hand some money back to Londoners. I am proud to have ended eight years of relentless rises in council tax, freezing the precept for the last three years and now take this small step towards easing the burden further."
Despite this the budget will ensure that police numbers are protected – at the end of this Mayoral term there will be around 1,000 more police officers than at the beginning.
So the precept for someone on Band D will fall from £309.82 to £306.72. A modest fall certainly but for hard pressed Londoners every little helps. While other bills are going up here is one that will be going down. A reduction rather than a freeze is also a psychological boost.
The budget will be subject to final approval by the London Assembly when it meets on Thursday 9th February. How will Labour vote?