Wandsworth and Westminster councils battle over who has Britain's lowest council tax
Two Conservative councils are fighting for the right to the title of lowest council tax in the country.
Wandsworth Council has prided itself as having the lowest Band D rate in the country and has held the “coveted” title since 2004-05.
Three weeks ago, the local authority revealed it was increasing the tax by 22p a week to £685.77, an increase of 3.1 per cent, only the second rise in a decade.
Then on Wednesday last week, Westminster Council stole the accolade when it unveiled its new Band D tax rate of £680.74, which just undercut its south-west London rival.
But after hearing about Westminster had pinched its beloved crown, Wandsworth responded by declaring it had set the “lowest ‘average’ council tax” rather than the traditional measure of the rate, Band D.
Not to be outdone, the leader of Westminster Council, Councillor Phillipa Roe once again claimed the title for her authority.
She said: “We are very pleased to be delivering extra investment for street cleaning, CCTV and protecting front-line services at the same time as setting the lowest council tax in the UK.”
Wandsworth Council has said it has frozen its share of council tax for the sixth year running, but admitted overall bills will rise slightly because of increasing charges from other public sector organisations whose funding makes up part of the bill.
This includes the cost of refuse disposal by the Western Riverside Waste Authority.
Councillor Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, said: “Once again we have been able to freeze our share of bills but we cannot absorb costs that are beyond our control and are levied by other statutory organisations.
“This is only the second increase in 10 years and our residents can rest assured that we will always be Britain's number one council for both value and service.”
Regardless of last week’s political scuffle, borough residents will continue to pay around half the council tax bills that other Londoners have to pay because the average Band D council tax bill in the capital currently stands at more than £1,300.