London councils livid over precept plan

10 Jan 02
Council leaders have accused Mayor Ken Livingstone of 'attempting to bleed Londoners dry' with his suggested 35% increase in the Greater London Authority precept.

11 January 2002

The Association of London Government claimed that borough chiefs from all parties were 'livid' that the mayor was demanding an increase that would take the precept rise to 65% since 2001.

The ALG calculates that many Londoners now face the prospect of council taxes in excess of £1,000.

ALG chair Sir Robin Wales led a cross-party delegation to discuss the precept with the mayor on January 8, but emerged saying: 'We have agreed to disagree. We feel a demand of 35% on Londoners' council tax bills is totally unacceptable.'

The mayor's office claimed that the 2002/03 precept equated to an average council tax increase of £1 a week – two-thirds of which would be invested in London's beleaguered transport network. However, the ALG argued that the rise could be as high as £2 a week for some Londoners.

Eddie Lister, leader of Wandsworth Council, accused Livingstone of 'attempting to bleed Londoners dry'.

Islington Council leader Steve Hitchins added: 'What Londoners want to see is evidence that they are getting value for money for the taxes they are already paying.'

With the two groups at loggerheads, responsibility for effecting a cut may fall to the Greater London Authority, which can amend the mayor's proposals through a two-thirds majority.


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