04 Feb Harlow Council approves historic Council Tax cut and hundreds of millions to regenerate Harlow
An historic Council Tax reduction worth £55 and major investments to improve the lives of local families in Harlow have been approved.
Harlow Council’s budget for 2022 to 2023 and financial plans up to 2025 were passed at last night’s Full Council meeting (3 February 2022).
It is the first time Harlow Council has agreed a Council Tax cut of this size on its share of the Council Tax bill. The cut includes a one-off £50 reduction on Harlow’s Council Tax bill for 2022 to 2023. The reduction is worth £55 (for a Band D home) as the council has also agreed to cancel a previously planned Council Tax increase of 1.99 percent.
Alongside the government’s Council Tax rebate announced yesterday, Harlow Council Tax this year is set to be reduced by £200 for the majority of council taxpayers.
Councillor Russell Perrin, Leader of Harlow Council, has hailed this moment in the town’s history. He said:
“This is an historic moment for the town and the council. This budget delivers a cut in Harlow Council’s share of the Council Tax bill – a reduction worth £55 for those who pay Council Tax. We also plan to further freeze Harlow Council’s share of Council Tax up to 2025. That means we will do everything we can to help Harlow families with the cost of living. Along with the government’s Council Tax rebate, the overall Harlow Council Tax bill for the majority of council taxpayers is set to reduce this year, providing much-needed cost of living help for Harlow families and individuals.
“In our budget we are also investing in Harlow’s regeneration and renewal with some record investments announced. There’s £26 million towards building new council homes, £122 million for improving existing council homes, £63 million for improving council facilities and we will create a new Estate Renewal Fund to restore pride in our estates and neighbourhoods. We will also spend over £6 million on services to improve the town’s landscapes and environment and we are getting on with the job of regenerating the town centre, with this budget creating a new combined regeneration and planning department to deliver that.
“We are doing all of this with no cuts to services, no job losses and no detrimental impact on the council’s finances in the future.
“As I have said from the start of this budget setting process – the money the council has is not our money, it is our residents’ money. Therefore we are investing your money into your priorities and getting on with the job of making Harlow the best town in Britain to raise your family, to live and to be.”
The budget includes:
- A reduction in Harlow Council’s element of the 2022 to 2023 Council Tax bills. This is in addition to the government’s announced Council Tax rebate for people living in band A to D homes.
- Planned Council Tax freezes until 2025 – taken with the council’s reduction this year residents will pay £67 less to Harlow Council than was previously planned, equating to a £2.1 million tax cut in total rather than a £600,000 tax increase.
- No cuts to services, but more investment to improve council services for residents.
- £26 million towards building new council homes for Harlow families.
- £122 million 5-year programme to improve existing council houses and flats.
- £63 million 5-year programme to improve council-owned facilities across the town.
- £6.4 million to enhance the town’s landscaping and environment. This includes £250,000 for new tree planting projects.
- More funding for popular community services including Harlow Playhouse, Pets’ Corner and Harlow Museum.
- New Estate Renewal Fund to restore pride in our estates and neighbourhoods.
- A new combined planning and regeneration department to provide focus on delivering town centre and wider regeneration.
- Car parking charges frozen in all council-owned car parks.
The overall Harlow Council Tax bill also includes charges from Essex County Council, Essex Fire Service and the Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner who set their own levels of Council Tax. Harlow’s total Council Tax bill for 2022 to 2023 will be agreed at the Special Full Council meeting on 24 February 2022.