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Council tax and transport costs to increase in London

Written by: Rebecca Goodman
Council tax in London is set to rise by £38.55 a year from April, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has confirmed in his draft budget.

This will be the rise for an average ‘Band D’ property pushing the total cost to £434.14 a year.

There will also be an increase of 5.9% to tube, train and bus fares across the capital, which will rise by the same amount as national rail services. This will take effect on 5 March.

The rise has been blamed on a funding gap left by the Government for policing, transport and the London Fire Brigade.

It comes as councils across the country were given the authority to raise council tax by up to 5% in the Autumn Statement.

Council tax rises

The Mayor is set to raise the precept, which is an amount everyone in London pays towards services provided by the Greater London Authority. It is paid on top of the council tax bill households pay to their local authority for their services.

It is set to rise from £395.59 a year to £434.14 on average for residents of London’s 32 boroughs – an overall increase of £38.55.

Every £15 paid by London households will go directly towards policing, which will be spent on recruiting 500 police community support officers (PCSOs) at a cost of £50m.

Of the extra money paid by Londoners, £20 each will go towards transport costs. An additional £3.55 will go to the London Fire Brigade to ensure it can continue to respond quickly to major fires.

Londoners to pay more for transport

Single bus ‘hopper’ fares, which offer unlimited bus and tram travel within an hour, introduced by the Mayor in September 2016, will rise by 10p to £1.75.

Overall fares set by Transport for London (TfL) will rise by an average of 5.9% and pay-as-you-go fares on the tube within zone one will increase by a higher amount, of 30p.

Fares across TfL services were frozen between 2016 and 2021 and the Mayor said if this had not happened, and instead increased with inflation, they would have risen by around 12% between 2017 and 2020.

The extra funding will ensure that under-18s and those aged over 60 will continue to receive free travel but temporary travel time restrictions on 60+ Oyster and Older Person’s Freedom Passes, have now become permanent.

Khan: ‘Last thing I want to do’

The Mayor said TfL has a significant funding gap and the only way to plug the hole is from raising council tax.

Sadiq Khan, said: “The last thing I want to do is increase council tax at a time when many household budgets are stretched, but the Government’s refusal to provide the funding our city needs means I’ve been left with no viable alternative but to help plug the gap by raising council tax by £3.21 a month.

“This will ensure we can protect and further improve our vital frontline public services, including the police, transport and the London Fire Brigade.”

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