Councillor Ross Garrod, Leader of Merton Council, has written to Environment Secretary Therese Coffey, urging her to use her powers to reject the proposed increase which he says is unjust during the cost of living crisis.
The Special Levy is a tax paid by those living in properties within three-quarters of a mile of the perimeter of Wimbledon Common, affecting more than 9000 properties in Merton.
This is the second consecutive year that the Wimbledon and Putney Common Conservators have imposed a significant rise, following a 12.6% hike this financial year – which was also opposed by both Merton and Wandsworth Councils.
Councillor Garrod said: “I have written to the conservators saying the Council will continue to offer them constructive support, while I understand the challenges of maintaining green spaces with limited finances, under no circumstances will the Council support a hike of this size.”
In his letter, Councillor Garrod wrote: “An increase of this scale and in this context is impossible to justify when hardworking families are struggling to make ends meet and pay for basic necessities. In addition to the impact on Merton residents, this also has an implication on our ability to collect Council Tax as the levy is considered as part of our Council Tax threshold. This is not solely a Wimbledon issue – it has knock-on effects to the borough’s finances overall.”
If the proposals are implemented, Merton Council could lose up to £123,000 in Council Tax receipts – the equivalent of closing two libraries.
Residents are encouraged to join the campaign against the proposed Levy increase, by registering their objections: https://tinyurl.com/352j3828. The consultation closes on 29 October.
The Special Levy is charged to households living close to Wimbledon Common and also those in the old parish of Putney and is collected through council tax bills. It is paid by residents living in the boroughs of Wandsworth, Merton and Kingston.