Londoners to be hit with double price hike as council tax and TfL fares to rise
The pound in Londoners' pockets is about to be stretched even further as Sadiq Khan unveiled council tax and travel cost hikes as part of his budget.
Londoners are to be hit with the biggest council tax and transport price hikes in years amid a cost of living crisis that is already placing huge pressure on people's purses.
Under the draft budget unveiled on Wednesday, council tax for an average band D property will rise by £38.55 - the maximum allowed by the government.
City Hall said of this, £20 will go to TfL, £15 to the Met to recruit 500 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and £3.55 to the London Fire Brigade.
Transport for London (TfL) fares will also rise by 5.9% - again the maximum allowed.
Mr Khan told ITV News last week that he wanted to limit the rise to 4% but his hands were tied by the terms of a government funding deal.
Transport for London was given a further bailout of £1.2bn in August 2022 following the collapse of its income during the Covid pandemic.
The mayor told ITV News the agreement with ministers forced him to mirror the planned 5.9% rise in national rail fares or cut services.
The draft budget must be ratified by the London General Assembly (LGA) and once it passes that hurdle, will come into effect on 23 February.
The mayor said he was forced to hike council tax to fund 500 additional PCSOs due to a central government shortfall.
Sadiq Khan told ITV News raises taxes and fares was the "last thing he wanted to do".
He blamed the government's refusal to "fund our city with the funding we need" for services, including Met Police and LFB, which left him with "no choice".
Mr Khan said: "I've been saying for some time now that the cuts the government have made from 2012 have consequences.
"We've been losing government support over the last 12 years that's led to 20,000 officers being cut across the country.
"Fire stations, fire appliances, firefighters being cut, us being the only leading city in the world without revenue support from the government for our transport.
"City Hall is trying to fill a massive black hole left by the government, and we can't do it by ourselves.
"Council tax is a regressive tax. What the government should be doing is properly funding councils and cities but also changing the tax system."
He said he wanted the government to be properly funding vital public services and not to be demanding that councils and City Hall raise a "regressive council tax".
Commuters outside South Harrow tube described fare rises as "unfair" and "way too much".
The mayor is also facing criticism from Tory MPs over plans to expand the capital’s ultra low emission zone (Ulez).
Prime minister, Rishi Sunak, said the Mayor of London should “properly reconsider” plans to expand the zone covered by the pollution charge to all London boroughs after Conservative backbenchers blasted Mr Khan’s plans for the impact they would have on their constituents in outer London and the Home Counties.
At Prime Minister’s Questions, Conservative MP David Simmonds said: “Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner has a great many car-dependent older and disabled constituents, many of who are horrified to read that the Mayor of London may have manipulated the outcome of his own consultation in order to impose an unwanted £12.50 daily charge every time they go for a medical appointment or attend hospital.
“Does he agree with me that any further rollout of the Ulez should be paused until these matters have been fully investigated?”
Mr Sunak replied: “It is disappointing that the Mayor, backed by the Leader of the Opposition (Sir Keir Starmer), is choosing not to listen to the public, expanding the zone against the overwhelming views of residents and business.
“I urge the Mayor to properly reconsider and respond to these serious concerns.”
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