Council agrees 2021/22 budget and pledges to maintain services
Thursday 25 February: Hillingdon Council approved its annual budget tonight, confirming that services and award-winning facilities valued by residents will be maintained in the 2021/22 financial year.
Speaking at a virtual Full Council meeting, Cllr Ian Edwards, Leader of Hillingdon Council, pledged to continue protecting frontline services while investing in the future.
Much-valued weekly waste and recycling collections will remain, and the high standards of the borough's award-winning parks and open spaces will be maintained.
There will also be further investment in leisure facilities, new school places, road and pavement resurfacing and town centre improvements to support local high streets.
The council tax rise will once again be set at 90 per cent of our neighbouring boroughs', with a small increase of 1.8 per cent.
Additionally, due to the exceptional pressures on social care due to the pandemic, the government has, for one year, allowed councils to levy up to 3 per cent (an increase of 1 per cent) as a Social Care Precept.
Residents' bills will also reflect an additional 1 per cent increase as a result of the 9.5 per cent increase in the precept imposed by the Mayor of London.
In effect, the total increase for a Band D property is 5.8 per cent - or £1.70 per week.
For the first time in 14 years, due to the challenges of the pandemic, council tax will not be frozen for those aged over 65 as the older persons discount scheme will not be applied in 2021/22. However, the council will protect the existing discounts for those already in receipt of this discount and a safety net is also in place for the most financially vulnerable residents through the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.
For Hillingdon residents, fees and charges on services provided by the council, including parking charges, will remain at least 10 per cent lower than those charged by neighbouring boroughs.
As part of the budget, an additional £10 million has been set aside as a contingency should government grants not be sufficient to alleviate the funding pressures created by COVID-19.
Highlights of the budget include:
- £29 million for a new leisure centre and community facilities in West Drayton
- Significant funding to maintain local highways - £30 million over five years
- £20.8 million towards the council's ongoing school building and expansion programme.
- £177.5 million for increased housing across the borough, which includes a £31.4 million investment in Hillingdon First Limited to deliver new homes
- £70 million for improvements to existing housing stock
- £22.5 million for equipment and adaptations for social care clients to help to improve their independence
- £3.9 million on town centre improvements across the borough to boost local businesses and high streets
Cllr Martin Goddard, Hillingdon Council's Cabinet Member for Finance, said: "Despite the many challenges arising from the pandemic, in Hillingdon, thanks to our strong record of sound financial management, we are able to continue to put residents first as we set out our budget for the coming year.
"Where other authorities may be in a more precarious position, this administration's careful financial planning has ensured that we can keep council tax rises to 90 per cent of the increase of our neighbouring boroughs' while continuing to invest in the services and facilities that we know our residents and businesses value, as well as supporting the borough's recovery from COVID-19."
The council delivers nearly 800 services. These are funded through a combination of grants from central government, a share of local business rates and council tax.
For details on council tax and how to pay, visit www.hillingdon.gov.uk/counciltax