Murky Depths

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Greenwich borough

Greenwich Council see big fall in income as costs mount

Greenwich Council’s new cabinet member for finance has revealed stark figures showing financial pressure on the authority.

Chris Kirby revealed on Twitter that more than 2,300 people cancelled Direct Debits for council tax in March & April alone. So far income is down one per cent and two per cent for business rates. That may seem low percentages but amounts to £2 million.

Other losses are:

  • Planning fees and charges (up to £1 million for a 3 month period)
  • Parking (£2 million over 3 months)

While income reduced from these areas costs have increased substantially in some areas:

  • Extra spend of £10million to support the social care market including £3million in additional staffing and investment in PPE
  • Other staff, such as waste service teams working double shifts to cover for staff who are self isolating

The details were revealed as a row broke out when Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick stated councils are getting more money than they need while also stating not all costs may be covered.

With the UK projected today to enter the biggest financial downturn in 300 years, how this plays out is a huge unknown.

 

7 Comments

  1. Graham

    This was expected when thousands of households in receipt of benefits were taken out of paying any council tax. This is important income which goes towards councils providing vital front line services.

    I know they were not paying a lot anyway in Council Tax to be fair, but it will be intersting to see how much income this scheme as lost the Council.alone. This could also be part of the reason a lot of direct debits to the Council have also been cancelled.

  2. CDT

    Yes I agree. Also water charges are no longer to paid to the Council and are now paid direct to Thames Water separately.

    If people were paying water charges by direct debit to the Council this will also account for even more cancelled direct debits.

    But surely the council would have been expecting this to happen and prepared for it.!!

    • ‘Also water charges are no longer to paid to the Council and are now paid direct to Thames Water separately.’

      Blimey, how far back are you going? I’ve paid Thames Water for the past 30+ years.

  3. CDT

    Anomymous201481 I am going back to March of this year.

    For Royal Borough of Greenwich tenants. Water charges were paid in with their weekly rent up until the end of March 2020.

    From 01/04/20 this was changed so tenants no longer pay water charges in with their weekly rent but pay Thames Water direct themselves.

    I do not know if housing associations and private landlords had different arrangements with their tenants to pay water charges.

  4. Graham

    Yep spot on CDT. This change did occur from the 1st April 2020.

    Furthermore what we pay to Thames Water is more than we were paying in our rents to Greenwich Council. So Thames Water are the winner from this change.

  5. Kevin

    Agreed Graham and CDT. My water charges which were paid in my rent to Greenwich Council also ended at the end of March.

    From the 1st April this year I set up a separare direct debit to pay my water charges direct to Thames Water every month.

    I am fine with this but know some of neighbours are finding hard as have to pay another separate bill.

  6. Ah, I see. I have never been in the social housing sector. Thanks for the explanation.

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