North London council tax is set to go up again while services face millions of pounds of cuts – including possible job losses and changes to local bus routes.
Brent Council’s initial draft budget for 2022/23 proposes a council tax hike of three per cent. It means Band D households will pay around £1,420 a year – an increase of £41 from 2021/22.
Those in Band A properties will pay an annual fee of around £946 – a jump of £27 compared to last year.
These figures will go up when the Greater London Authority (GLA) announces its city-wide contributions to council tax.
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The draft budget also plans cuts to services of around £2.7 million. The council’s customer services department could be cut, meaning jobs may be lost.
It expects to save £50,000 by moving towards a more digital customer service offering and reducing human interaction.
The council’s bus service, which supports schools and those with disabilities, is facing cuts of £250,000 as the council looks to make it “more efficient”.
This could include changes to bus routes and the type of on-board services offered to those who need them.
The draft budget will be presented to senior councillors at a cabinet meeting on Monday (December 6).
If approved, it will be subject to a public consultation and a series of scrutiny boards within the council before a decision is made on the final budget in February 2022.
By law, councils in England have to produce a balanced budget. More and more councils have noted the risk of falling into bankruptcy due to extra pressures brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and drastically slashed government grants.
Brent Council has not suggested it is in such a position but did point out the increased uncertainty caused by the pandemic and the continued impact of Brexit.
It has also criticised cuts to its funding from central government, which it says has forced it to regularly increase council tax and look to make savings in key departments.