Hounslow Freeze Council Tax for Third Year Running

But there's more to be done to improve services says Cllr Peter Thompson

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Residents of Brentford will be warmed by the news that Hounslow Council is freezing their share of the council tax bill, although there are concerns that yet another freeze may not be realistic.

Cllr Peter Thompson, leader of Hounslow Council, said, “For the third year running, local residents will not face a rise in their council tax bills from the council.

“I believe that our element of your council tax represents good value for money, but I want to do even more this year to improve the services that impact on your daily life.

“Improving services remains our priority. We want to become an authority that delivers on local priorities efficiently and effectively. I hope that residents will recognise that we are moving in the right direction, and delivering better value for money.”

Last month, London Mayor Boris Johnson froze Greater London Assembly's levy also which enabled Councils to follow suit.

Cllr Andrew Dakers, Leader of Hounslow Liberal Democrats said "I welcome the commitment of the Executive last week to invest £500k in a fund for investment in new infrastructure that will reduce our CO2 emissions. But this is not enough if the Council is also to help catalyse change in the wider community and take on the enormous challenge of climate change. From the £7m unallocated, we look to the administration to allocate a further £500k to climate change projects in the next financial year."

"Also taking a short to medium term view and recognising the diversity of the community it is clear to me that we should maintain the Council’s contribution to supporting the Hounslow Language Service. Shifting the cost of the service onto local schools is simply “cost shunting”. Their budgets are already stretched in many directions. Most importantly the Language Service supports community cohesion and strengthens vital skills in our community.

"I have long called for town centre managers to be introduced – small businesses are very vulnerable in the oncoming recession – and this funding is missing from the Tories budget.

"The cut to funding in the Specialist Intensive Support Programme for vulnerable families and Connexions/ junior youth inclusion scheme is also very worrying.

"The Liberal Democrat Group have supported the control of council tax over the past two years and support the current 0% increase. We have all seen the negligible impact of the Chancellor’s cut in VAT. The same is likely with the proposed Labour negligible council tax cut. What this would really do is add to the Council's financial risks in a year when there is considerable uncertainty ahead."

March 5, 2009