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Bromley Council agrees to council tax hikes
BROMLEY Council will increase council tax for the first time in two years, it has been announced.
The hike of 1.9 per cent comes despite a continued offer of government money to freeze bills, and will amount to a rise of £15.04 per annum, which is 29p per week for a band D property.
The proposal by the conservative-led council went unopposed by the Liberal Democrat and Labour groups at a meeting of full council.
Council leader Councillor Stephen Carr said: "In setting the council’s budget for 2013-14, we have consulted with and listened to our residents and adapted our budget proposals to meet their expectations and priorities.
"Most importantly, we are maintaining front line services whilst minimising the burden on residents at a time when the country finds itself in a very difficult financial position.
"We believe our approach gives long-term financial stability to the council and allows us to address issues and service demands, which cannot be met through short term gimmicks and freezing the council tax without identifying ongoing funding."
Bromley Council receives the second lowest level of government funding compared with most London Boroughs - £264 per head of population compared to the highest funded borough, Hackney, which receives £964 per head of population.
And despite the small rise in council tax the borough continues to have the lowest council tax in outer London, based on figures from the Office of National Statistics.
Speaking at the meeting last Wednesday (February 27) Labour group leader Councillor Peter Fookes said: "The key facts are that whilst nobody likes having to pay council tax, it is the price that we pay for living in a civilised community where the vulnerable are looked after."
Labour councillor John Getgood added: "Given the position you (the council) have manoeuvred this borough into, you probably had no option but to make this year's council tax increase.
“But more realistic budgeting from earlier years might have made this unnecessary."
The budget for the forthcoming year was also set at the meeting, with an alternative budget by the Liberal Democrats, placing an emphasis on older people's day care, rejected.