An increased council tax rate of 5.99% was approved by Ealing Council on Tuesday (February 20).
The 2018/19 rate includes a core council tax increase of 2.99% and a 3% social care levy, a separate charge made to contribute to adult social care services.
The annual bill for the average band D household will now rise by £65 – a weekly increase of £1.25.
Government cuts to Ealing Council's budget mean the council will have £143 million less funding in 2021 than it did in 2010, the equivalent of a 64% reduction.
Next year, the council must invest an extra £28 million in providing essential services for vulnerable adults and children - £19.5 million and £9.5 million respectively.
This brings Ealing’s total annual social care costs to £144 million - £7.2 million of which will be generated by the social care precept and rise in core council tax.
Voting in favour of the precept along with 47 other councillors, council leader Julian Bell said they had “no other choice” but to put forward the increased rate.
“We promised to keep council tax as low as possible for as long as possible and we have done this,” Councillor Bell said on Tuesday (February 20).
“Core council tax has been the same for a decade, but this year we have no other choice but to increase this part of the bill by 2.99%, which is in line with inflation.
“Sadly, the unrelenting cuts from central government and increasing demand on our services means that we, like an estimated 95% of councils in the country, have no option.”
To help close Ealing Council's funding gap, over the next four years a £10.5 million package of reductions was agreed in November and January's cabinet meetings.
A further £6.8 million in savings has been agreed in this budget round.
Cllr Yvonne Johnson, cabinet member for finance, performance and customer service, added: “The financial pressures we now face are so great that we have no choice but to take this increase.”
At the Ealing Town Hall meeting, councillors also agreed to increase council tax support in a bid to protect the borough's most vulnerable residents from the rise in tax.
'Skating on thin ice'
Voting against the tax increase with 14 other representatives, Cllr Anthony Young said Ealing Council is “skating on thin ice” and labelled the budget “unsafe to be passing”.
“In this current financial year, according to the last report from cabinet, we have departmental overspends of £32 million pounds,” Cllr Young said.
“To plug that gap, we have used the treasury management services, the contingency budget and useful reserves.
“Next year, if we pass this budget, we will already have allocated £11 million of anticipated treasury management services to make this budget work."
Cllr Young added: “What's worse than that, you'll see that we have no contingency budget. For the first time in my 40 years on council, we will have no contingency budget.
“Mr Mayor, not only are we skating on thin ice, but the cracks are starting to form.”
After the increase rate was passed, the average Band D council tax will be £1,440.12 for 2018/19.
This includes the core council tax, the government’s social care precept and the Greater London Assembly precept.
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