Sadiq Khan hikes council tax by £14 to 'keep Londoners safe'

Londoners were hit with a Christmas council tax bombshell on Thursday as Sadiq Khan whacked an extra £14 on the average household bill.

The Mayor blamed government cuts to police and fire budgets for his second successive annual increase.

Mr Khan said he was left with "no choice" but to hike rates in order to keep the capital safe.

New council tax rates will come into force in April 2018.

And Londoners could face further rises when the borough councils set their budgets.

The Mayor blamed the rise on central cuts to the Metropolitan Police. Credit: PA

Mr Khan's price hike will see a Band D council tax bill rise by £14.20 a year - equivalent to an extra 27p per week.

In 2017 the Mayor increased his share of council tax bills by an average of £4.02 - equivalent to an extra 8p per week.

Cuts of more than £600 million to the Metropolitan Police over recent years - despite four UK terror attacks in 2017 - left the Mayor with "no choice" but to up rates.

Mr Khan said the decision to impose higher taxes on those who could least afford it was not a decision he took lightly.

London Fire Brigade is set to benefit from the increase. Credit: PA

In a statement, he said: "This year, London has faced dreadful tragedy caused by four terror attacks and the Grenfell Tower fire.

"The capital’s population is rising, as is reported crime both in the capital and across the country.

"As the capital of our country and a global city, we host major music, sporting and cultural events and attract a record number of visitors.

"Ministers should hang their heads in shame at their abject failure to protect Londoners by adequately funding our police and fire service and for leaving it to taxpayers here in London to help to bridge the gap."

Conservative London Assembly member Gareth Bacon questioned Mr Khan's move, accusing the Mayor of "grandstanding".

He said: "The Mayor knows full well that the Fire Brigade does not require additional funding.

"No fewer than three reviews commissioned by him since he became Mayor have told him so, and he accepted the findings of those reviews in full.

"If he feels the Fire Brigade needs additional equipment, he has the means to provide it from without taking money from the Metropolitan Police.

"Yet again, he is grandstanding for his own political benefit."