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K&C moots voluntary council tax contributions

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Kensington & Chelsea RBC is set to become the second London borough to ask residents in its highest value properties to pay a voluntary contribution on top of their council tax bills.

Under the scheme, which will be developed over the summer for approval by the council executive in September, the more than 15,000 band H properties in the borough will be asked to pay more than the £2,381.10 annual council tax charge.

Westminster City Council became the first local authority to introduce such a scheme in March 2018. It raised £620,000 in its first year which was used to support services for rough sleepers.

Kensington & Chelsea said two thirds of nearly 1,200 respondents to a recent council consultation said they would be prepared pay a voluntary contribution while 80% backed the council’s suggested priority for the extra funds of skills and employment.

A council press release said this could include creating apprenticeships, supporting “pupils from all walks of life” to win places at university and investing in provision for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.

Council leader Elizabeth Campbell (Con) welcomed the consultation results.

She said: “This fund will create opportunities for many to boost their skills and development, and create routes into apprenticeships and employment. It is an exciting demonstration of the council working together, both with and for residents, to improve our borough.”

Analysis of data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government shows that 17% of Kensington & Chelsea’s residential properties are in band H, compared to 0.5% of all properties in England. The 15,229 band H properties in the borough account for more than 10% of all band h properties in England.

Band D council tax in the borough is £887.34 a year including the precept from the Greater London Authority, compared to a national average of £1749.88.

Lambeth LBC also considered introducing a similar scheme, however LGC understands it has not gone ahead.

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