For the last 10 years council taxes in H&F have declined. H&F now has the 3rd lowest council tax in England. The Liberal Democrats will endeavour to continue to find efficiencies and additional revenue streams to maintain current low levels of council tax. If sufficient efficiencies/additional revenue streams cannot be found, we would not compromise services so council tax rises may be necessary.
Providing crucial services for crime prevention, planning applications, social care, libraries, rubbish collection and recycling, to name but a few, is costly, and the Council will be struggling to deliver these. It is becoming less and less realistic without tax rises in the future.
Liberal Democrats are campaigning to remove the anomaly that stops Local councils from borrowing money to build council houses but free to "speculate" in commercial property. When a council wants to build new homes or temporary accommodation, the transactions come out of a pot known as a housing revenue account (HRA).
Since 2012 rules governing HRAs have restricted the amount councils can borrow to fund house-building. The cap varies from council to council, depending on how much housing debt they already have. No such caps exist for commercial property. Councils can access low-interest loans through a government body, the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB).
The Liberal Democrats would
- Maintain current levels of taxation through efficient gains for as long as possible but not at the cost of compromising service levels.
- Continue to lobby for increased council tax on empty properties to 500% from the current level of 200%.
- Continue to lobby to remove the anomaly that stops Local councils from borrowing money to build council houses but free to "speculate" in commercial property.