The council is setting its budget and wants to hear from residents, businesses and local groups about the services that matter most to them and their communities.
This is part of a six-week consultation that runs up to Monday 10 December, and will inform the process of setting the council’s council tax rate for 2019/20 and the next three year rolling budget.
Since the Government’s austerity programme started in 2010, the council’s core government funding has been cut by 64% in real terms - which equates to £148 million. During this time the council has worked hard to protect vulnerable residents and frontline services to make savings of £176m.
By introducing a rolling three year budget in 2017, the council has been able to change the way services are delivered, and save £38m from its budget. However, ongoing government cuts and rising pressures on services mean the council has to save an extra £44m by 2022.
This year the council is spending £343.7m on public services, almost half is spent on supporting children in care, people with disabilities, mental health conditions, homeless people and vulnerable older residents.
Despite cuts to its funding the council has protected frontline services such as leisure centres, Idea Stores and libraries, children’s centres and youth and community hubs.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “Since austerity began in 2010, we’ve worked really hard to protect our vulnerable children, adults and frontline services, despite our core funding being cut by £148m.
“We have managed to keep all of our Idea Stores, libraries, leisure centres and children’s centres open. We’ve built more affordable homes than anywhere in the country, provided £30m of funding to tackle poverty across the borough, as well as funding additional police officers to help keep our communities safe.
“As we approach the challenges of setting our next budget, we want as many people in our community to join the Your Borough, Your Future conversation so we know about the issues that are important to you.”
With year on year reductions in government funding, shrinking budgets and growing demands, the council has to make some difficult choices to maintain good quality services and support the most vulnerable residents.
These challenges are also affected by a 10% rise in the population to 350,000 by 2022 – which is an extra 22 residents every day. Other pressures include the need for more affordable housing, new school places, and a rise in the amount of waste the council needs to collect.
Councillor Candida Ronald, Cabinet Member for Resources and the Voluntary Sector said: ‘’This consultation is your chance to tell us about the services that matter to you. The feedback we receive will help to inform us as we set our budgets for the next three years.
“The Government continues to cut our funding despite rising demand, and while we have managed to protect frontline services we still face tough choices.
“We will continue to embrace innovation, finding smart ways to help generate income to offset savings required. This will allow us to continue to invest in new homes, job opportunities and building a strong local economy for our residents in Tower Hamlets.”
Have your say on the council's budget by visiting our website.
Posted on Monday 5th November 2018