Merton Council Opts for Maximum Council Tax Increase

Rebate available for households in lower bands

Merton Council's headquarters

January 10, 2023

Council tax in Merton is set to rise by five per cent in April, the maximum allowed without a referendum.

But some households will be eligible for a 1 per cent rebate to help with the cost-of-living crisis. Those living in band A-D homes will be getting the rebate.

The increase will be discussed by the council’s cabinet on 16 January and the budget for 2023/24 is expected to be agreed at a meeting on 1 March.

The council declared a cost-of-living emergency in July 2022 and in November handed out a £60 rebate to 10,900 residents who receive council tax support.

This totals £654,000, of which £454,000 comes from the government’s Household Support Fund, provided to councils to help those most in need.

Council leader Ross Garrod said, “Merton was one of the first councils to declare a cost-of-living emergency, and we will continue to do everything we can to support residents who are counting the cost of rising prices.

“Our proposed one-off one per cent discount on council tax bills will benefit the majority of residents in the borough and those facing the toughest impacts. This is in addition to our £60 rebate for residents who receive tax support, and many more who have been helped through our £2million Cost of Living Fund.”

The council has allocated £100,000 of its cost-of-living fund to the voluntary sector and £400,000 to initiatives that reduce heating costs. It also agreed for £630,000 to pay for free school meal vouchers between October 2022 and March 2023.

There is also a new debt support service run by Merton Citizens Advice Bureau in libraries across the borough. Cabinet member for finance and corporate services, Councillor Billy Christie, added, “Like many residents, we are under unprecedented pressure to balance our budget, and all our services face soaring energy costs, rising bills and high inflation.”

Tara O'Connor, Local Democracy Reporter