With the Christmas hangovers barely worn off today sees the start of Woolworths closure programme. Wandsworth’s stores all close in the New Year, and will leave a big hole in the town centres they are leaving, and a bigger hole in the lives of the employees who are losing their jobs.
Shortly before Christmas Edward Lister, the council leader, announced the council’s programme to help the borough’s businesses and residents through the recession. A lot of these schemes are within my portfolio, and quite a few see their first airing at the Regeneration and Community Safety Overview and Scrutiny Committee early in the new year so I’ll highlight them here in the coming days. However, it’s worth just flagging up one of the leader’s comments:
Wandsworth ‘s council tax is the lowest in the country. We are committed to keeping our bills affordable for local people. When household budgets are stretched, a low tax can make a real difference.
And this is key. In Wandsworth the average band D council tax is £681 per year. Nationally the average is £1,370 – this means you are nearly £700 a year better off just for living in Wandsworth. When times are hard, that makes a lot of difference.