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Westminster Council freezes the Council Tax

Westminster Council is freezing its Council Tax for the coming financial year. With a Band D charge of £377.80 for Westminster plus £309.82 for the Mayor of London's precept it will be just fractionally ahead of Wandsworth who have the lowest Council Tax in the Britain.

Westminster Council is currently undergoing a major restructure and is carrying out a thorough review of its three year business plan. Less money will be spent on administration and more on frontline services - where it makes the biggest difference.

By 2012 the council will employ up to 400 fewer people to ensure that the council can continue to deliver value for money services. Out of this figure, the council expects to employ 100 fewer managers, most of whom will go through natural turnover. Other measures include reducing the levels of temporary staff, flexible contractors, voluntary redundancies and fewer contractors. This is set to save the council at least £30m over the next three years.

Last year, Westminster scored top marks in its Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) - for the seventh year running - achieving four stars and is regarded by the Audit Commission as 'improving strongly'.

Conservative-led Hounslow Council are also freezing their Council Tax again. This confirms a pattern of London Councils averaging lower rises than elsewhere. But one London Council is increasing bills by 4.33% and will be setting a Band D Council Tax of £1,287.39 plus the Mayor's precept giving a total bill of £1,597.21. Which is this loony left Council? Lib Dem-run Richmond-on-Thames. But there is one Council in London which will charge even more. Kingston-upon-Thames, also under Lib Dem control, where the 3.99% Council Tax rise will mean a Band D bill of £1,320.96, once the Mayor's precept is added the total comes to a stonking £1,630.78

In other news Conservative-run Medway Council are increasing their Council Tax by 4.88%. But they say the the Band D  Council Tax of £1,041.48, including precepts, is £130 lower than the average for Kent and £320 a year lower than the national average which is £1,414. They also plan a festival on Englishness.

Also Conservative-run South Hams Council is freezing its share of the Council Tax although the bulk of the bill is the precept to Devon County Council which will go up.


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