Why are you running this consultation?

    This consultation presents London Borough of Harrow’s draft budget for 2024/25.  

    We legally have to share with you our plans and ask you what you think of them in order to set a balanced budget in February. But regardless of our statutory responsibility, we want to know what you think.

    We have to run a consultation at this time of year to ensure that your responses feed into the budget-setting processes, and we have to wait for information from Government about how much they are giving us first.

    We don't receive that info until just before Christmas.

    What are your priorities?

    Every year, the London Borough of Harrow delivers services to more than 261,000 people.  Some are essential and some are what we consider important to help us restore pride in Harrow and deliver our key priorities: 

    • A council that puts residents first
    • A borough that is clean and safe; and
    • A place where those in need are supported 

    We must now look at how we are going to pay for all these services next year – and future years. 

    The 2024/25 budget has been developed to ensure funds are available and resources are committed to deliver these priorities.

    Why are you proposing to raise Council Tax?

    We are heavily reliant on Council Tax to fund our core budget.  

    While we receive Government funding to help us deliver services – they tell us how we must use this money for example on schools, public health and housing benefits. 

    This year, almost 80% of our day-to-day revenue budget is funded by you from Council Tax – that’s £154m out of £196.3m to be exact. 

    We do not receive specific funding to meet any growth or changes in population – so if there’s more children or more elderly needing our support, the funding amounts do not change. 

    This year, we increased Council tax by 4.99% giving us an extra £7.8m to spend on services.  

    But rising prices caused by high inflation has made it more expensive to deliver council services.  

    At the same time demand for services the council provides has increased. We have: 

    • one of the fastest growing aging populations in London 
    • high levels of children with special educational needs – who may need additional support to live independently as they become adults; and 
    • soaring levels of homelessness which has pushed the bill for temporary accommodation this year up by 30% to more than £4m.  

    Can't you use money in reserves instead of putting Council Tax up?

    Harrow remains one of the lowest funded Councils both within London and nationally. The Council does not benefit from large reserves compared with the rest of London and is in the lower end of the lower quartile for reserve balances held.


    Reserves and contingencies exist to protect the Council’s financial standing and in the context of the overall risks that the Council faces during a continuing period of economic uncertainty. 

    The council needs to ensure an adequate level of reserves and contingencies which will enable it to manage the risks associated with delivery of the budget including equalities impacts and unforeseen events.

    The Council’s overall reserves position is reported to Cabinet quarterly as part of the revenue monitoring update. 

    At quarter 2 (end of September 2023),total reserves forecast for carry forward into 2024/25 are £58.4m.

    If the forecast in year overspend position does not change and requires a draw down from reserves in the region of £1.4m, this would reduce reserves further to £59.6m. 

    However, on the basis of the gross position and after accounting for specific earmarked reserves this leaves the Council's remaining reserves at £35.9m:

    ● Total reserves earmarked (non-specific) £9.8m

    ● Budget Planning Reserve £16.1m

    ● General Fund balances £10.0m


    How much additional money did the Council get from Council Tax for all the new homes built?

    There have been around 300 new properties added to the tax base for 2024-25, which brings in around £500,000 in council tax.

    What savings are you proposing?

    There are savings of £448k put forward for next year (2024/25). These are in Appendix 1A here but are summarised as:

    • Removal of Ward Priority Fund budget (£100k)
    • Review of leases and rent for corporate property portfolio (£50k)
    • Introduction of new Fees and Charges for tree documents (£10k)
    • Review of Technical Support resources and future requirements following the full implementation of the new planning software system (£38k)
    • Net reduction in Business Rates following the closure of Civic Centre and the opening of the Harrow Council Hub (£250k)

    There is also £7.7m net savings highlighted during last year’s budget saving rounds which will come into effect in 2024/25. More details are in Appendix 1B here

    What investments are you proposing?

    Harrow has one of the fastest growing ageing populations compared to the rest of London and a growing number of adults with complex needs. Because of this we plan to take the government’s 2% increase to Council Tax for use on adult social care - this will give us an extra £2m to support those most in need. We will boost this with an extra £3m of our budget to support adult social care in 2024/25.

    What does Adult Social Care cover?

    Adult social care is the support provided to adults with either physical or learning disabilities, or physical or mental illnesses.

    The support provided could be for personal care such as eating, cleaning and getting dressed or for domestic routines such as going to the shops. Adult social care can be provided through care services, including care homes or a carer helping in someone's home.

    These services are usually paid for privately by the person receiving the care, or by the local council.

    Find out more

    What happens next?

    The information we gather will be used to inform our final budget which will be reported to Council on 23 February 2024. 

    We will publish the outcome of the consultation and the final Budget Report on this page in February 2024.

    Any comments provided will be treated as confidential and will be anonymised before publication.

    How do I get involved?

    Let us know your views by filling out our Draft Budget Survey.