Westminster Conservative Council’s leader Cllr Philippa Roe has announced her intention to freeze council tax for two-years, as part of the council’s budget proposals for 2014/15.
After six annual freezes in a row, 2013 saw the council claim the title of having the lowest Band D council tax in the country, it is anticipated the authority will achieve the same again this year.
Westminster is also proposing to freeze on-street parking charges for a second successive year, and invest £8.5m in the city’s roads and infrastructure.
“This is a solid, practical approach that will ensure that we are able to deliver our priorities – clean and safe streets, low tax and quality local public services”
Westminster City Council Leader Cllr Philippa Roe said: “A two-year freeze would give hard-working people right across the city a financial guarantee, just when they need it. We still have to make savings, and will need to for the forthcoming years. So our budget proposals have been shaped by the innovation shown in our tri-borough partnership – we aim to achieve over 70 per cent of our savings through back office transformation across a range of our services.”
The City Council will have to trim its expenditure by £21m for the next financial year. Yet, despite that challenge, it is committed to supporting the most vulnerable, investing in the fabric of the city by renewing estates and building new homes, and will be concentrating reductions in the back office not the front line, driving efficiencies further in the years ahead.
Westminster is also pushing forward with a new programme to improve customer service, making it quicker and easier for residents to do business with the council, including a new website in 2014.
Budget highlights include:
- Investment in roads, pavements and infrastructure of over £8.5m and the completion of the Piccadilly Two Way project
- Capital investment in sports, leisure and public health, including a new £17m sports facility in north Westminster
- A new £12m library in Marylebone
- The continuation of Westminster’s award-winning housing renewal programme, worth £560m
- Increase public health spending by up to £1m to tackle issues such as obesity, smoking, diabetes and drug use
- Freezing on-street parking prices for a second year in a row
- Work with stakeholders and central Government to establish a new University Technical College in Westminster