Lister on Putney

Easter weekend, the Brewer Building & Taxes ........


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Great feedback from local businesses involved in the music festival that made this year's Boat Race weekend so special.

Just about all those taking part said the events exceeded their expectations and proved a big hit with customers..

Many residents have also commented on the new hanging flower baskets in the town centre. Engineers have had to test all the lamp columns to make sure they are safe to carry the baskets, which will stay up now until October.

Also looking good are the plans for new paving outside the Brewer Building at St Mary's church. Thanks to an environmental grant from the council the materials will now be of the same quality as that used in Church Square. Together these two areas will provide a pleasant area of open space in the heart of the town centre.

On the altogether less friendly subject of taxes I can report that once again this year there will be no increase in the council tax from Wandsworth. It means that once again our bills will be the lowest in the country.

But it's not all good news. The amount we pay to the Mayor of London for his growing organisation continues to go up, while in two years time changes to the way our properties are valued could also bring problems. The fear is that when London's properties are revalued in 2007 this could be the trigger for a seismic shift in the way councils' funding is shared out.

Areas where prices have gone up the most could lose out in grant to other parts of the country. For council taxpayers in London and the South East this could mean big increases. Just because our house may be worth more it doesn't mean we are any more able to afford higher taxes - especially when the services provided in one part of the country are pretty much the same as those in others.

None of us know yet how the changes will work - but you can be sure that London's councils will be pressing for a fair deal for the capital's taxpayers.

Edward Lister

Edward Lister is the Leader of Wandsworth Council and a member for Putney's Thamesfield ward.