Merton recommends below inflation council tax rise

Merton Council’s Cabinet have recommended a council tax increase of 3.9%, which is in line with the expected increase in State Pensions from April 1st 2008, and lower than the current rate of inflation (January 4.1%).

The recommendations to be considered by full council on 5th March show that despite being dealt the lowest possible grant increase from central government, Merton is still keeping its council tax increases as low as possible.

The recommended budget focuses on efficiency and savings and would equate to a band D Merton council tax of £1,091.49 per year, or residents paying on average just over £3 extra per month per household for council services. Additional levies for band D council taxpayers over the year will be £311.25, bringing the total amount to £1402.74.

Merton was recently awarded three out of four for its ‘Use of Resources’ in the Audit Commission report, performing well and consistently above minimum requirements, showing that efficiency is a high priority for the council. The proposed budget puts residents at the forefront of services and offers them the best possible value for their money. £8.9million of savings will be made to ensure a balanced budget and minimal extra expense to residents and council taxpayers.

Councillor Samantha George, Deputy Leader of Merton Council and Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources said:

“In light of the disastrous financial grant the government has given Merton for 2008/2009, it was imperative to not charge more in real terms than we did last year for council services. Preparing a balanced budget has involved a colossal amount of work and savings will have to be made to achieve this.

“As detailed in the recent Audit Commission inspection, Merton has consolidated it’s 3 star ‘Good’ rating this year, proving we are operating as a fitter, faster and more focused council. We are always working hard to be more efficient so we can continue to put our residents first by providing high quality services and good value for money.”