Many thanks to the 2,024 local residents and businesses who completed the survey between October and December 2018.
The council faces a number of financial pressures including government core funding being cut by £148 million (which equates to 64%) since 2010, and needs to make further savings of £44m by 2022. That’s why it’s so important to have feedback from residents and businesses about the services they value and rely on.
Key themes in the budget proposals
Following feedback from the public consultation, Mayor John Biggs and his Cabinet have approved the borough’s draft three year budget, which is designed to invest in a cleaner, safer and fairer Tower Hamlets and continue to protect residents from the negative impacts of ongoing austerity and government cuts.
Specific funding proposals for community safety, housing, children’s services, education and the environment include:
- £1.7 million for a new team of anti-social behaviour enforcement officers to keep streets safe on top of the additional police officers already funded by the council.
- £2.5m new funding to improve waste services and a new team to remove graffiti and clean up our borough.
- £332m for new council housing schemes and temporary accommodation.
- £4.9m investment in early years for our youngest residents and additional support for our schools.
- £2.7m to protect free school meals for all primary school pupils and expanding our much needed tackling poverty fund.
- £112m in funding secured for two new secondary schools and investment in a new footbridge across South Dock on the Isle of Dogs.
- Bringing our communities together by scrapping the charge for street parties and providing continued funding for events including the Victoria Park Fireworks and Boishakhi Mela.
Summary of the consultation findings
More than 2,000 local residents and businesses responded to the ‘Your Borough Your Future’ six week budget consultation that ended on 10 December.
The consultation revealed that the services most valued were those for children, public health and community safety. 58 per cent of residents supported up to a three per cent council tax rise and over two-thirds of all respondents supported a further one per cent rise specifically for adult social care services.
In terms of the borough’s council tax plans, the draft budget proposes a council tax rise of 2.4 per cent, which is in line with inflation, plus an additional one per cent which will directly help to support adult social care.
These measures were supported in the recent public consultation and will mean an average additional 65p per week council tax rise per household. The Greater London Authority (GLA) is currently consulting on their element of the council tax which will be added to bills that go out to each household.
There was also strong support in the consultation for the council to make services more efficient and increase income generation to protect frontline services. The council will continue with this approach in the future, extending the range of services people can access online and provide targeted support for those who need it too.
You can see the full report of the consultation findings here.
The council’s budget proposals will go before a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday 30 January, before being set to conclude at a special budget and council tax setting full council meeting at the Town Hall on 20 February 2018.