On the eve of a Ealing Council meeting (March 8 2023) to discuss 2023-2024 budget and Council Tax, Ealing Liberal Democrats are calling on the Labour-run council to put a freeze on Council Tax as well as looking at how it is managing finances.
Last month, Ealing Council said it would increase council tax for 2023-2024 by a total of 4.99%. General council tax will rise by 2.99%, the maximum councils are allowed by government to do while there is another 2% increase that households will pay which has been ring fenced for social care.
Councillor Steve Donnelly, Council cabinet member for inclusive economy said last month: “Although we’re having to make tough decisions again this year, thanks to global economic insecurities and rising interest rates, we’re making sure we’ll be here when you need us by investing in key services.”
He added: “Communities rightly expect that the council will provide support when it’s needed. Our hard-up households, which bore the brunt of the problems caused to the economy by the pandemic, are now struggling at the sharp end of the cost of living crisis and need help. We’ve also got a range of other support available – such as making it easier to get help to pay for food and essential bills through our local welfare assistance scheme. And the four community hubs at Ealing, Acton, Northolt and Southall libraries.
In a statement from Ealing Liberal Democrats: “At this time of year all Councils discuss their budgets for the following financial year. Ealing is not in danger of going bankrupt, and slashing services to make ends meet like some local councils, Ealing still faces a difficult situation of providing services to more people who need them, with little or no real term increase in money given to councils and increased costs due to inflation.
“The Labour led Ealing council propose to implement a significant increase in Council Tax for next year. It is the wrong time to be increasing Council Tax for residents let alone by the maximum amount. Under the Labour run Ealing Council watch Council Tax has increased by the maximum over the last few years whilst services for residents have got worse. Ealing Liberal Democrats are calling on them to freeze Council Tax for the benefit of hard-working people of the borough.
“In the last four years adult social care overspend has increased 87% and for children’s social care it has increased 76% since 2018/2019. This shows that the Labour administration do not have control of the social care budget, as they are unable to forecast or remain in a reasonable margin year on year, which leads to spiralling costs.”