Your local Labour council has decided to freeze council tax again this year. This is the 6th year we have been in charge of the council and our 6th freeze in a row. These six years of freezes have saved the average Ealing family £664.
The council is still facing huge Tory Government cuts. The Tories have cut £180m from our budget and we will still need to find further savings to meet this target. We should now be able to achieve this through efficiencies rather than cuts. However we also know that many local people are still struggling with the average pay packet in London down £4,415 in real terms since the global financial crisis and housing costs that are spiralling out of control thanks to the housing crisis that the Tories have created. We do not believe it is fair for local people to pay for Tory economic failure through higher council tax bills.
Councils up and down the country are facing huge challenges in balancing their budgets. In Ealing we have acted prudently, we have taken tough decisions and faced our problems head on. We have also grown our local economy by investing in new homes and made Ealing an attractive place to live and work. This has led to us collecting more tax from new homes and more businesses. Rather than increasing taxes we have tried to increase the amount of tax we have got in. Our collection rate is amongst the highest in the country and we have cracked down on fraud to ensure that everyone pays their fair share. All these factors have allowed us to keep council tax down for families across the borough.
We’re also putting more money in to meeting the rising demand for social care. We have chosen not to take George Osborne’s social care precept. This precept would have meant £2.3m of extra council tax for social care. Instead we have found £2.3m more for adult social care from within our budget this year and even more in the years ahead and we have also set up a £5m social care transformation fund to reform care within the borough. We’re meeting the challenge of providing care without resorting to council tax rises.
Between now and the next election we will continue to face challenges, especially from a Tory Government determined to cut public services to the bone. However you can rest assured that your local Labour council will continue to act prudently, protect services and put local residents first.