- Council’s ‘Your Borough, Your Future’ budget consultation launched and runs until 5 December 2019
Tower Hamlets Council has launched its ‘Your Borough, Your Future’ consultation to hear the views of residents, businesses and community organisations to help shape the council’s budget and council tax rate for 2020/21. The six-week consultation will run until midday on Thursday 5 December.
This year the council is spending £342.6 million (net*) on public services with half of the budget spent on supporting children and vulnerable adults.
It has worked hard to make £190 million in savings since 2010, including introducing more efficient ways of working, cutting red tape and reducing the council’s workforce. However, after several years of government cuts and other growing financial pressures, it still has to save an extra £39 million by 2023.
Despite the challenges it faces, the council is proud to have continued to invest in frontline services and currently has the seventh lowest council tax in London.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “I’d like to see as many local residents, businesses and community groups as possible take part in the consultation so we can shape our next budget with the widest possible feedback.
“Despite pressures on budgets, I’m pleased that we’re making good progress on having 2,000 additional council homes in delivery by 2022. We are also continuing to fund police officers to make our streets safer and are helping our most vulnerable residents through our tackling poverty fund.
“However, the longer term funding position from government remains uncertain. With only a one year financial settlement for next year, we are expecting the so called ‘Fair Funding’ Review to result in further cuts to our budget in the future.“
Tower Hamlets has one of the fastest growing populations in the UK, which is projected to rise from 323,700 in 2019 to 341,000 by 2023 and 376,300 in 2029. This is equivalent to 14 new residents every day for the next ten years.
By 2029, the number of residents age 65+ is expected to grow by 39 per cent, compared with a 17 per cent increase in working age residents and a 5 per cent rise in school aged children. This is likely to lead to even greater pressure on frontline services for vulnerable adults and children.
This is a major challenge for the council and means that it will continue to give careful consideration to every penny that it spends.
Councillor Candida Ronald, Cabinet Member for Resources and the Voluntary Sector, said: “We can be proud of the way in which we have protected frontline services for vulnerable residents.
“The harsh fact remains that on the one hand we have had a decade of cuts to our budget from central government while demand for our services continues to grow. That’s why we need to find different ways of delivering services with less funding.”
The consultation is now open and runs until midday on Thursday 5 December 2019. Full details including the online survey is available on the council’s website www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/budget.
*The £342.6 million spending figure relates to the council's net budget. The actual expenditure is higher because it also includes the Housing Revenue Account, Dedicated Schools Grant and income generation.
Posted on Monday 28th October 2019