Skip over navigation
Mayor Of Newham
Get in Touch
Visit Council Website
start of content
Making some tough choices together
It is about now that our thoughts turn to Christmas and what we will all be doing over the holiday period.
It suddenly dawned on me how close it is when I presented gifts to the annual Newham Recorder and Community Links toy appeal - truly a campaign worth supporting so that no child goes without at Christmas.
This is normally a period of good cheer, but there's not much of that around at the moment following the coalition government's spending review - especially for us compared to other parts of London such as Richmond-upon-Thames.
I accept the need for reducing the public deficit, but I make no apologies for singling Richmond out because it shows just how deep the cuts that have been imposed on us truly are.
Over the next four years grant funding to Newham is being cut by £75m. We are being hit harder than any other.
London borough (except the City of London). With inflation and other budget pressures it means we will have to save something like £116m over that period. Compare that to Richmond at the other end of the scale, which will see its funding cut by just £4.6m.
And why is it so unfair? Well, on average full time workers in Newham receive gross pay of £491.80 per week. In Richmond they get £710.50.In Newham there are 10,343 people on Jobseeker's Allowance looking for work, whilst in Richmond it is 2,115.
In Newham, 30.2 per cent of households are on the waiting list for a social tenancy whereas in Richmond the figure is 8.7 per cent. And in Richmond 8,350 residents claim both Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit compared to 31,310 here. So tell me now, who is going to suffer more from a grant cut?
There's no glossing over the fact that there will be a severe impact on Services here as funding in Newham depends on a much higher level of grant aid than in other councils because of our needs. Those cuts to services will be a direct consequence of the way the Government plans to apportion the cutbacks.
Wealthier councils are not facing anywhere near the same reduced funds, but our top priority will be meeting resident needs. I ask for your understanding and support as the council continues to campaign for fair funding.
"To help make those choices I need to know that we have got the priorities right in the areas that make most difference to you."
We have already achieved £70m of savings over the past three years during a constant search for efficiency, but we are still going to have to make some tough choices. To help make those choices I need to know that we have got the priorities right in the areas that make most difference to you.
In the past you've told me what bothers you are crime and anti-social behaviour, rubbish, parking and noise. You've told me you want improvements in crime, cleaner streets, more job prospects and decent housing. You've also said services like street lighting, refuse collection, recycling and street cleaning have got better.
In response to what you wanted the council has, amongst other things, helped more than 5,000 people into work through Workplace since 2007; provided free school meals for all primary school children, saving hard working families £330 a year per child, frozen.
Council Tax; increased the number of officers tackling anti-social behaviour and stepped up action against those who fly-tip and litter the borough.
In the New Year I'll be getting out and about in the borough to find out exactly what you think about the coalition government's cuts and to get your views on whether we are spending on the things that matter most.
You can find all the details of where I'll be through the Newham Mag or on the council's website at www.newham.gov.uk or by calling 020 8430 2000.
I want us all to be together on this. Together we can challenge the Government over the depth of the grant cuts imposed upon us. Together we can decide whether we've got the priorities right. We can get through this tough time together.
Back to top
My View Archive
My View - 2011 archive
My View - 2010 archive
My View - 2009 archive
My View - 2008 archive
My View - 2007 archive
My View - 2006 archive
My View - 2005 archive
My View - 2004 archive