Kingston council tax confirmed London's highest

Kingston Guardian: Kingston council tax confirmed London's highest Kingston council tax confirmed London's highest

Kingston’s 2.4 per cent council tax rise has been confirmed as the highest in London, and nearly double that of Bromley, which posted the second highest increase in the capital of 1.24 per cent.

Weeks from local elections across London, Kingston was one of just four local authorities to increase its element of the tax, with 24 freezing bills at least year’s level and five cutting them by as much as 3 per cent.

Most band D households in the borough will pay £1,662.03, which represents a £32 increase on last year, while those living within three-quarters of a mile of Wimbledon and Putney commons will be charged £1,685.88.

The overall bill Kingston residents will pay from April will go up by 1.9 per cent, after Mayor of London Boris Johnson froze his element of council tax, which funds the Greater London Authority, for the second year running.

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11:19am Mon 15 Mar 10

Beverly RA says...

Look and weep, the Lib/Dem Leader said that he come into politics to spend, well thats true he did just that, roll on May 6th elections lets get rid of this lot, for 8 Years we have increase upon increase, never do the Lib/Dems say how much it is in Money terms.
look at Wandsworth bands and compere it to ours, in fact look at any band in London. time for them to go and Quick
Look and weep, the Lib/Dem Leader said that he come into politics to spend, well thats true he did just that, roll on May 6th elections lets get rid of this lot, for 8 Years we have increase upon increase, never do the Lib/Dems say how much it is in Money terms. look at Wandsworth bands and compere it to ours, in fact look at any band in London. time for them to go and Quick Beverly RA

10:14am Tue 16 Mar 10

SteveC1964 says...

Beverley RAI don't supose you have ever looked into how much grant Wandsworth gets from central Government compared to Kingston. The fact that Wandsworth gets a much bigger grant means that residents in Putney, Battersea, Balham - all those 'inner -city' so-called impoverished places get lower Council Tax bills. Swap the geographical locations of Wandsworth and Kingston and Kingston would have the lower bills. It's got nothing to do with the colour of the administration. I don't know why The Comet singularly fails to report this. I suppose it's old-fashioned bias.
Beverley RAI don't supose you have ever looked into how much grant Wandsworth gets from central Government compared to Kingston. The fact that Wandsworth gets a much bigger grant means that residents in Putney, Battersea, Balham - all those 'inner -city' so-called impoverished places get lower Council Tax bills. Swap the geographical locations of Wandsworth and Kingston and Kingston would have the lower bills. It's got nothing to do with the colour of the administration. I don't know why The Comet singularly fails to report this. I suppose it's old-fashioned bias. SteveC1964

10:43am Tue 16 Mar 10

SteveC1964 says...

Last year Wandsworth got a whacking £148 million in Government Formula Grant. Stick that amount of cash into Kingston's budget and the council tax would go down sharpish.
Last year Wandsworth got a whacking £148 million in Government Formula Grant. Stick that amount of cash into Kingston's budget and the council tax would go down sharpish. SteveC1964

1:00pm Tue 16 Mar 10

KT6 says...

Steve, I'd agree that Kingston's tax is not directly comparable with Wandsworth's, but there is no real excuse for it being so high compared to other, relatively well-off suburban areas like Bromley or Richmond.

The population density in Kingston is very high for somewhere so far out of central London - Kingston and Surbiton centres are packed with flats, and virtually every hectare of the borough is built on. The vast majority of the lovely green space that we benefit from in this area is actually maintained by Richmond, Merton or Elmbridge councils. Kingston only have a few, very small areas to pay for.

It would be interesting if full stats were available, but I would have thought if there are more council tax payers per hectare and less open areas to maintain, council tax should be less than other areas, not more. Obviously, more people require more services (waste, recycling etc), but ther must be some economies of scale to be had here?

This is in addition to the business rates levied on all of the retail outlets in the borough. Again, I would expect there to be more income here for Kingston than most other boroughs.
Steve, I'd agree that Kingston's tax is not directly comparable with Wandsworth's, but there is no real excuse for it being so high compared to other, relatively well-off suburban areas like Bromley or Richmond. The population density in Kingston is very high for somewhere so far out of central London - Kingston and Surbiton centres are packed with flats, and virtually every hectare of the borough is built on. The vast majority of the lovely green space that we benefit from in this area is actually maintained by Richmond, Merton or Elmbridge councils. Kingston only have a few, very small areas to pay for. It would be interesting if full stats were available, but I would have thought if there are more council tax payers per hectare and less open areas to maintain, council tax should be less than other areas, not more. Obviously, more people require more services (waste, recycling etc), but ther must be some economies of scale to be had here? This is in addition to the business rates levied on all of the retail outlets in the borough. Again, I would expect there to be more income here for Kingston than most other boroughs. KT6

5:29pm Tue 16 Mar 10

SteveC1964 says...

KT6: open spaces (woods and playing fields etc) are pretty cheap to maintain compared to care homes, schools, libraries, roads & pavements. If Bromley has a lot more open space (and I'm not convinced that it does other than golf courses), then it'll not have the outlay that Kingston has. Richmond's band D council tax is £1,597.21 compared to Kingston's £1,662.03 - a difference of £64.82 or to put it another way, a difference of £1.25 per week. I don't think that warrants the description "so high compared to....". The alternative would be to makes cuts in services. Which services would you cut?
KT6: open spaces (woods and playing fields etc) are pretty cheap to maintain compared to care homes, schools, libraries, roads & pavements. If Bromley has a lot more open space (and I'm not convinced that it does other than golf courses), then it'll not have the outlay that Kingston has. Richmond's band D council tax is £1,597.21 compared to Kingston's £1,662.03 - a difference of £64.82 or to put it another way, a difference of £1.25 per week. I don't think that warrants the description "so high compared to....". The alternative would be to makes cuts in services. Which services would you cut? SteveC1964

5:58pm Tue 16 Mar 10

KT6 says...

I realise that the open spaces are relatively cheap to maintain. The point that I was making is that where Richmond has the green spaces, Kingston has more roads of flats, each filled with many more council tax payers.

There are pockets of deprivation in the borough, but a lot of these flats are filled with relatively wealthy young commuters who are less likely to require care homes, schools etc than most of the population. It seems to me that Kingston has above average income for less than average extra cost.

I don't think that Kingston's tax is ridiculous, but it is already the highest in the capital, and I don't think that there is any clear reason for this.
I realise that the open spaces are relatively cheap to maintain. The point that I was making is that where Richmond has the green spaces, Kingston has more roads of flats, each filled with many more council tax payers. There are pockets of deprivation in the borough, but a lot of these flats are filled with relatively wealthy young commuters who are less likely to require care homes, schools etc than most of the population. It seems to me that Kingston has above average income for less than average extra cost. I don't think that Kingston's tax is ridiculous, but it is already the highest in the capital, and I don't think that there is any clear reason for this. KT6

6:32pm Tue 16 Mar 10

SteveC1964 says...

KT6 you write in generalities....it's all 'relatively wealthy this' and 'it seems to me' without using any knowledge. Of course 'relatively young commuters' aren't requiring care hoimes. But there are a lot of people needing care - whether it's because of old age or disability, and disability is across all ages. The reason why Kingston's Council tax is what it is compared to other boroughs is beacuse of the Government Formula Grant. Change the formula in Kingston's favour and the Council tax will go down. Can it be fair that Kingston's residents effectively subsidise Putney's? I don't think so. Can Putney be fairly described as 'inner city' and therefore require subsidising? Which services should be cut in Kingston?
KT6 you write in generalities....it's all 'relatively wealthy this' and 'it seems to me' without using any knowledge. Of course 'relatively young commuters' aren't requiring care hoimes. But there are a lot of people needing care - whether it's because of old age or disability, and disability is across all ages. The reason why Kingston's Council tax is what it is compared to other boroughs is beacuse of the Government Formula Grant. Change the formula in Kingston's favour and the Council tax will go down. Can it be fair that Kingston's residents effectively subsidise Putney's? I don't think so. Can Putney be fairly described as 'inner city' and therefore require subsidising? Which services should be cut in Kingston? SteveC1964

10:16am Wed 17 Mar 10

KT6 says...

I realise that I am generalising, but I expect I share the perception of most voters in the borough, and that is that Kingston Council is not managing it's budget as well as others similar boroughs. Most people will not know about the Government Formula Grant, and this could be enough to lose the Lib Dems this council at the next election.

I do not fully understand how the Government Formula Grant works, but it does seem grossly unfair. I am guessing that it is allocated on the basis of deprivation in the boroughs, so somewhere like Wandsworth should clearly get more than Kingston, which only has one 'sink' estate, compared to many in Wandsworth. What I don't understand is how this grant allows Wandsworth to reduce it's council tax so far below Kingston's. Is it an error in the formula used for calculating the Government Formula Grant, relative efficiencies at Wandsworth, or a combination of both?
I realise that I am generalising, but I expect I share the perception of most voters in the borough, and that is that Kingston Council is not managing it's budget as well as others similar boroughs. Most people will not know about the Government Formula Grant, and this could be enough to lose the Lib Dems this council at the next election. I do not fully understand how the Government Formula Grant works, but it does seem grossly unfair. I am guessing that it is allocated on the basis of deprivation in the boroughs, so somewhere like Wandsworth should clearly get more than Kingston, which only has one 'sink' estate, compared to many in Wandsworth. What I don't understand is how this grant allows Wandsworth to reduce it's council tax so far below Kingston's. Is it an error in the formula used for calculating the Government Formula Grant, relative efficiencies at Wandsworth, or a combination of both? KT6

12:26pm Wed 17 Mar 10

SteveC1964 says...

As I understand it the Lib Dems have been campaigning under the banner "A fair deal for Kingston" but clearly the message isn't getting through if you still believe the Council is wasteful - perhaps encouraged by those in opposition. The information on the Lib Dems' website shows that for 20010/11 Wandsworth's central Grant PER PERSON is £583 (increase 9.6%) whereas Kingston's is £231 (decrease 0.4%). That's a difference of £352 per person or equivalent of £704 for a two person household. This means that people can live in one of those huge Band H mansions in Roehampton or a million £ riverside apartment in Putney and still not pay as much as a household in Kingston in a Band D property. The Grant is across the board, taking into account the poorest areas, but the richest people also benefit from the Grant.

BTW I am not a member of any political party.
As I understand it the Lib Dems have been campaigning under the banner "A fair deal for Kingston" but clearly the message isn't getting through if you still believe the Council is wasteful - perhaps encouraged by those in opposition. The information on the Lib Dems' website shows that for 20010/11 Wandsworth's central Grant PER PERSON is £583 (increase 9.6%) whereas Kingston's is £231 (decrease 0.4%). That's a difference of £352 per person or equivalent of £704 for a two person household. This means that people can live in one of those huge Band H mansions in Roehampton or a million £ riverside apartment in Putney and still not pay as much as a household in Kingston in a Band D property. The Grant is across the board, taking into account the poorest areas, but the richest people also benefit from the Grant. BTW I am not a member of any political party. SteveC1964

12:44pm Wed 17 Mar 10

KT6 says...

Thanks Steve. It is very interesting to see the actual figures. As you say, it is a disgrace how little Kingston gets in comparison to Wandsworth.

Surely, they must do some sort of calculation rather than just saying Kingston = leafy suburb and Wandsworth = deprived inner-city area? It certainly does not appear so.

Do you know if there is a listing of the Grant given to all of the London boroughs?
Thanks Steve. It is very interesting to see the actual figures. As you say, it is a disgrace how little Kingston gets in comparison to Wandsworth. Surely, they must do some sort of calculation rather than just saying Kingston = leafy suburb and Wandsworth = deprived inner-city area? It certainly does not appear so. Do you know if there is a listing of the Grant given to all of the London boroughs? KT6

2:28pm Wed 17 Mar 10

SteveC1964 says...

KT6 I think what you're asking for is at http://www.local.com
munities.gov.uk/fina
nce/1011/grant.htm#s
et

Key Statistics Table, Key Table 1
showing Kingston gets £37.2M Formula Grant, Wandsworth £152M, Richmond £28M, Hammersmith & Fulham £121M
KT6 I think what you're asking for is at http://www.local.com munities.gov.uk/fina nce/1011/grant.htm#s et Key Statistics Table, Key Table 1 showing Kingston gets £37.2M Formula Grant, Wandsworth £152M, Richmond £28M, Hammersmith & Fulham £121M SteveC1964

4:28pm Wed 17 Mar 10

SteveC1964 says...

I've just discovered something remarkable from Kingston's census data. Out of 74,893 residents employed, 16,310 described themselves as working in "Real Estate". That's nearly 22% are working as "Estate Agents" !
I've just discovered something remarkable from Kingston's census data. Out of 74,893 residents employed, 16,310 described themselves as working in "Real Estate". That's nearly 22% are working as "Estate Agents" ! SteveC1964

2:37pm Mon 22 Mar 10

KT6 says...

That is an amazing statistic. I doubt that is all estate agents, though. Most of them will probably be amateur developers inspired by 'Homes Under The Hammer' type TV programmes to buy houses cheaply, do them up and sell them on for a profit.

It still seems like a massive number, though!
That is an amazing statistic. I doubt that is all estate agents, though. Most of them will probably be amateur developers inspired by 'Homes Under The Hammer' type TV programmes to buy houses cheaply, do them up and sell them on for a profit. It still seems like a massive number, though! KT6

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