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Monday, May 27, 2024

Some Tower Hamlets residents face a 4.99per cent council tax increase to their bills from April 2024

Only some Tower Hamlets residents face a 4.99 per cent council tax increase to their bills from April 2024 as the local mayor insists he remains committed to protecting the poorest.

The 4.99pc increase will go towards general spending at Tower Hamlets Council (2.99pc) and adult social care (2pc), which is in line with the maximum amount set by the government.

During a cabinet meeting on Wednesday evening (January 31), Saied Ahmed, lead member for resources said households with an income of less than £49,500 will be protected by some of the increase.

Cllr Ahmed said: “Due to our rigorous budgeting process, we are able to protect average and lower earners from the 2.99pc rise in council tax and households with an income of less than £49,500 will not be impacted at all.

“That means 28,000 households will not pay anything at all, and a further 19,000 households will not pay any increase.”

He said households earning higher than £49,500 will see on average a 66p weekly increase to their council tax bill.

Cllr Ahmed was answering a question put forward by Labour councillor, Sirajul Islam who is the leader of the opposition at Tower Hamlets Council.

Cllr Islam argued the 4.99pc council tax increase went against Tower Hamlets mayor, Lutfur Rahman’s manifesto pledge ahead of the local elections in 2022 which stated he would, ‘freeze council tax for four years, to protect the poorest from rising living costs’.

Cllr Islam asked: “In the budget report, general council tax is being proposed to be set at 2.99pc with an additional 2pc [adult social care] precept which in total is a council tax rise of 4.99pc during a cost of living crisis.

“How does the mayor reconcile the 4.99pc total council tax rise in this year’s budget against your manifesto pledge not to raise council tax?”

Mr Rahman from the Aspire Party responded and said: “I know my manifesto because I drafted it before the election [in 2022].”

He went on to say that he hadn’t broken a manifesto commitment, and the council had no choice with the 2pc increase for adult social care.

Mr Rahman added: “The council tax actual increase is only 2.99pc but even then those of you who earn less than £49,500 will not have to pay the increase, it’s for those people who are earning more than £49,500.

“Those people are earning a lot of money, those are the people who will be paying the increase. The poor, the needy and those people who don’t have much money in their pockets – we are protecting them.”

Tower Hamlets is the sixth lowest borough in London for council tax.

The budget for 2024/25 will be presented to the full council on Wednesday, 28 February.

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