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Bonkers Blog February 2016

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2 February (Part 1) - No ifs or buts. Tax up by 3·99%

Griffin O'NeillWhile the disappointed young people were trooping out of the chamber, Chairman O’Neill pressed on regardless such that the beginning of the next Agenda item was lost among the sound of feet on wood and banging doors. However one could see Alison Griffin’s lips moving.

I heard her say that the Council Tax would be set on 2nd March. This year’s overspend is currently £285,000 but Strategy 2018 has produced a £13 million saving this year. The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement was much worse for Bexley than anticipated.

There would be revision to the New Homes Bonus which forms such a big part of Bexley’s growth strategy. Early in her speech Ms. Griffin made a direct reference to the 2% Adult Care precept, a clear warning of the inevitable announcement to come.

There are plans for further savings of more than £21 million in 2016/17 rising to £31 million by 2019/20 on top of the £63 million savings already achieved. If this is possible what further proof can there be that Bexley Council has been profligate with your money in the past? Bexley is close to being the most highly taxed London borough and just a single generation ago it was close to being lowest.

In case the point had been missed, Ms. Griffin said “the planning assumption is that Council Tax will rise by 1.99% and the 2% precept for social care will also be used”. There will still be a gap of around £2 million in 2016/17 and £25 million by 2019/20.

The banging of doors and heavy footsteps obliterated the remainder of the Finance Director’s address but it was something about retaining Business Rates.

 

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