Sadiq Khan today announced that his share of council tax will increase by nearly 10 per cent from April in order to keep funding public transport services.
Under the proposals, the average bill for Band D will increase by £2.63 a month – £31.59 over the whole year.
Of the increase, £15 will go towards funding free travel on Transport for London services for young people and people aged over 60.
Another proposed £15 will go to the Metropolitan Police, while the final £1.59 will go to the London Fire Brigade.
Khan said: “With a lot of hard work, I have been able to limit the council tax increase this year to less than half of what some expected, in the face of huge pressure from Government Ministers to increase council tax to pay for public transport and policing in the capital.
“I fully recognise that in many households, finances are more stretched than ever before because of the pandemic and this decision is not taken lightly. Council tax is a regressive tax but the Government have left us with little other option.
“The Transport Secretary told me that he expected council tax would have to go up in London and the Home Secretary assumed a huge increase rather than funding the police properly.”
At the moment, free travel for under 18s and people over 60 is paid for by the government, but this is due to expire in April as a condition of TfL’s bailout package.
The rise in City Hall’s council tax take will create an estimated £40m for concessionary travel programmes, which cost between £110m and £130m.
The rest of the shortfall is expected to come from proceeds from raising the Congestion Charge.
Conservative candidate for Mayor Shaun Bailey was scathing og Khan’s “mismanagement” finance, despite the pandemic, singling out Transport for London.
“Over the last four years, Sadiq Khan racked up £9.56 billion in waste at Transport for London — leaving TfL unable to afford the services Londoners rely on.
“That’s why he’s now forcing Londoners to pay for his mismanagement with a massive £130m hike in the council tax and congestion charge.
“As I feared he would, Khan is passing on the cost of his mistakes to Londoners,” Bailey added.
But Labour AM Len Duvall hit back, saying that the rise was “necessary” due to the government’s “refusal” to provide a long-term funding package for TfL.
“It needs to be made clear that this rise was proposed by the Government, who refused to protect travel concessions for under 18s and older people in London and have stripped almost £1 billion from the Met Police over the last ten years”, he said.
“If council tax was not raised this year, we would see further cuts to vital services and the Government penalising Londoners next year by taking it out of central grants.