London Borough of Camden
5 Pancras Square
London N1C 4AG
020 7974 4444
The council recently took the difficult decision to raise council tax by 4.99% and I want to explain why we did so.
Between 2010 and 2019, the government will have reduced our funding for services by half as part of its spending reduction programme. They have also reduced our capital grants that we use to invest in much needed infrastructure, such as council homes, schools and community facilities.
To deal with this situation we have tried new and innovative ways of working. By redeveloping our property that is expensive to maintain, underused or difficult to access, through our Community Investment Programme (CIP) we are using all the proceeds to invest £1 billion (by 2025) in new and improved council homes and school buildings. Just 2% of that is from government funds.
We have also kept investing in other community facilities, including libraries, youth services, Camden Sure Start and support for our most vulnerable children and adults.
Over the last four years we have tried to keep council tax as low as possible while working to protect vital frontline services from the £76 million of cuts we’ve faced. But we now have no choice but to increase council tax.
Between 2013 and 2023, the number of people in Camden aged 75 or over will increase by 30%, with those aged 90 or over rising by over 50%. With less central funding and additional demand on social care due to NHS pressures, these essential services need more funds.
The majority of the council tax increase will be dedicated to protecting adult social care services for frail elderly residents, those living with dementia, mental health issues and disabilities, so they can all live full lives as part of our community.
We will also continue to invest in housing. CIP is enabling us to build new social housing, as well as to provide Camden Living Rent homes for families on low incomes, like nurses and trainee teachers. We are improving standards within our existing properties, including significant investment in boosting fire safety. The tragic events at Grenfell changed everything and we responded, despite no funding from central government, by increasing safety standards across our housing stock, including cladding removal on the Chalcots Estate.
There are further huge challenges that we need to invest in, from tackling air pollution, through to keeping our young people safe during a time that our other public sector partners are also facing cuts.
I’m acutely aware that Camden’s households continue to feel the squeeze on their budgets. That is why our Council Tax Reduction Scheme reduces the bill for more than 22,000 low-income households, of which over 17,000 are exempt from paying any council tax, including foster carers and care leavers.
I hope this provides context about why this rise is needed and if you feel you need to organise flexible payment based on your circumstances then please contact us. We will do our best to help.
Councillor Georgia Gould
Leader of the Council