Sadiq Khan 'treating Londoners like cash machines' with 8.6% tax hike

Sadiq Khan accused of treating Londoners like ‘walking cash machines’ as he unveils 8.6% council tax hike that will come into force just weeks before next year’s mayoral election

Sadiq Khan was accused of treating Londoners like ‘walking cash machines’ today as he revealed plans to hike his share of council tax by 8.6 per cent next year.

The Labour mayor has proposed the eyewatering increase of his share of the levy, blaming ‘the government’s failure to properly fund’ police, transport and fire services. 

The change would come into effect in April, just weeks before the mayoral election, and means the average council tax bill for a Band D property has risen 70 per cent since 2017.

The average London homeowner will pay £471 annually as its precept – or share of the Council Tax total – to City Hall, after he increased it by almost £40. And it means average total bills, which also take in the major share levied by local authorities – will break £2,000 in 15 boroughs.

Tory mayoral candidate Susan Hall said: ‘Sadiq Khan is treating Londoners like walking cash machines, wasting money on spin doctors and PR stunts, while raising his council tax by over 70 per cent since he was elected.

The Labour mayor has proposed the eyewatering increase of his share of the levy, blaming the government for not providing enough cash to pay for police and fire services.

Tory mayoral candidate Susan Hall said: ‘Sadiq Khan is treating Londoners like walking cash machines.’

‘He’s already fleecing Londoners with his unfair ULEZ expansion, raking in millions off the backs of the lowest earners. We cannot afford another four years of Sadiq Khan.’

Cllr Alessandro Georgiou, a Tory who sits on Enfield Council, added: ‘Knife crime, sexual offences and robberies are all through the roof. Not only content with state of crime in London, Khan also wants to make us all poorer.’ 

Announcing the increase Mr Khan said it was ‘the last thing I want to do’ and accused ministers of ‘refusing to provide enough support for London’s essential public services’.

It came the day after he was blasted for ‘wasteful spending’ as the Government forked out £250million in another bailout for Transport for London (TfL).

The capital’s transport network will receive the cash next year to be used for projects such as providing new Tube trains for the London Underground’s Piccadilly Line.

The sum is only half the £500million that Mr Khan and TfL had been demanding, while the London mayor also bemoaned the lack of a long-term funding settlement.

TfL bosses said they would continue to suffer a ‘shortfall in funding’, which has led to doubts over the future of a proposed Bakerloo Line upgrade and extension.

But both Transport Secretary Mark Harper and Ms Hall accused the London mayor of being unable to ‘balance the books’.

In a statement today he said: ‘Against the backdrop of the government’s refusal to provide enough support for London’s essential public services, I have no viable alternative but to use all the levers at my disposal to provide urgent funding from City Hall, particularly for the police.

‘The Government has announced that policing in London is set to get just over half the percentage increase in funding compared to the rest of the country. How can this be right when the Met has had to undertake a huge amount of national policing activities over recent months without any additional funding from the government? 

‘This is putting an enormous strain on an already stretched police service. That’s why I’m having to step in with additional funding from City Hall to ensure the police in London can bear down on violent crime, continue to reform and make our city safer.

‘We are going through a challenging time in London due to the state of the national economy, the impact of austerity and the cost-of-living crisis. But I’m confident that this budget will not only support and improve our public services in our city, but help us to continue building a fairer, greener and safer London for everyone.’

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