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A budget with fairness at the heart of the recovery

A fair budget graphic March 2021

Budget 2021

At a time when the impact of Covid-19 has touched the lives of everyone in the borough, the council has agreed its budget to invest in homes and frontline services and to protect the borough’s most vulnerable residents. Mayor John Biggs has also announced the creation of a new £3million Covid-19 recovery plan.

The budget Full Council meeting took place virtually on Thursday 4 March, and followed the decision at Cabinet the previous evening to secure the funding to keep all of the borough’s Libraries and Idea Stores open.

In order to continue to fund local services people rely on, the council has increased its portion of council tax by 1.99% which is about 40p a week for the average household. There will also be an additional 3% which the government expects councils to raise to support adult social care. This will mean around in total an extra £1 per week for the average Band D property, and despite the increase, the council still expects to have one of the lowest council tax rates in London.

Since the government’s austerity programme started in 2010, the council has worked hard to protect vulnerable children, adults and frontline services while making savings of over £200million. It now needs to save an extra £30million by 2024, while dealing with additional demand on services and the ongoing impact from Covid-19.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “This is the toughest budget I’ve had to present as we’ve faced over a decade of austerity and are having to respond to increased pressures on services and the impact of the pandemic. We are proud to support key frontline services, invest to tackle poverty and protect our most vulnerable residents. I’ve also announced a new £3million Covid-19 recovery fund that will put fairness at the heart of our recovery.”

The budget includes:

  • £3million to fund free school meals for all primary school children.
  • Additional funding for police officers and our council run anti-social behaviour services.
  • Ongoing funding for the tackling poverty programme for our most vulnerable residents.
  • Ongoing plans to deliver 2000 new council homes and more affordable housing.
  • Creating a new £3million Covid-19 recovery plan.
  • Protected funding for the borough’s 12 Children’s Centres.
  • A 100% council tax discount for the poorest in our community, one of the most generous council tax reduction schemes in the country.
  • Ongoing support including grant funding for the local voluntary and community sector.
  • Significant funding for adult social care services.
  • Investment in our award-winning parks, and schemes to tackle air pollution and the climate emergency.
  • Investing over £35million in public health.
  • Major investment in future growth via ongoing £395million capital funding for new schools, bridges, and improved community facilities.

Councillor Candida Ronald, Cabinet Member Resources and Voluntary Sector said: “I’m very proud of our budget which despite these uncertain times continues to invest in the frontline services our community relies on, protects our most vulnerable residents and sets us on a path to rebuild and reboot for a fairer future.”

ENDS

Posted on Friday 5th March 2021