Cabinet backs Mayor's New Deal for Newham

19 February 2016 in Council and democracy and Finance and Mayor
Proposals by the Mayor of Newham for a New Deal for the borough’s residents were backed by the council’s Cabinet last night (Thursday 18 February).
Among the wide-ranging measures put forward by Mayor, Sir Robin Wales, are a £100 million investment over the next ten years in improving the borough’s roads, pavements and lights; additional funding to keep Newham clean including an extra £1m a year on enforcement; and continuing to fund 40 additional police officers to help keep residents safe.

Councillors supported the Mayor’s plans, developed following an extensive public consultation, which also protects frontline services while not increasing Council Tax next year. They will now be discussed at Full Council on Monday (22 February).

Even though the council has faced harsh cuts in funding from the Government, the Mayor is planning to freeze Newham Council’s share of the Council Tax for the eighth successive year.

However, the Government’s continued underfunding of adult social care services is forcing the Mayor to propose introducing the Government’s two per cent care tax that will help raise £1.3 million a year towards adult social services. Residents highlighted supporting vulnerable adults as a key priority for them during the budget consultation.

With the freezing of Newham’s share of the Council Tax and the Olympic tax to fund the 2012 Games expected to end this April, the combined effect means that Newham residents will pay slightly less next year than in 2015/2016.

The Mayor’s proposed New Deal for Newham includes:
  • Keeping Newham Moving – a New Deal for our Roads: investing £100 million over the next ten years to improve the borough’s roads, footpaths and streetlights to help people travel across Newham as safely and smoothly as possible. The council will also look to support more car clubs, take tougher enforcement action on yellow box junctions and introduce borough-wide residential parking zones to give residents priority over parking in their own neighbourhood
  • Keeping Newham Clean – a New Deal for our Environment: including £1million invested in a dedicated enforcement team to ensure those who dump rubbish on the streets are made to pay for their actions; investing an extra £¼m  to make the borough cleaner and greener by introducing teams to visit residents, businesses and schools to encourage them to recycle and keep their neighbourhood clean; bringing in a bulky waste collection charge for a 12 month trial period, and maintaining weekly waste and fortnightly recycling collections
  • ongoing investment in the council’s work brokerage scheme Workplace which has helped nearly 30,000 residents into jobs since 2007
  • continuing to improve the quality of the borough’s private rented sector through the landlord licensing scheme and ensuring new developments provide the affordable homes needed by Newham’s residents
  • identifying commercial funding to reduce Council spending on annual free events which bring local communities together including Under the Stars and the Mayor’s Newham Show.
Sir Robin said: “We have already faced harsh cuts in our funding from the Government which are unfairly targeting the areas with the most need. The next four years are going to be no different – but the question now is how we respond.

“Newham is a council that takes the initiative and develops new ways of doing things to help, support and make a difference to lives of our residents.

“I believe these proposals are a truly exceptional and outstanding package. Despite the huge cuts we have faced we are looking to grow and expand what we deliver to our communities.

“We are looking to invest in our roads, help create jobs, develop affordable housing, and make the borough cleaner and greener all without cutting frontline services and at no extra charge to our residents.”

Over the past five years the council has achieved savings of £117 million without cutting frontline services. The revised Government settlement means the council needs to find an additional £70 million savings by 2020. The Mayor’s proposals include £38 million of savings, income generation and other efficiencies to help balance the budget for 2016/2017 meaning frontline council services will continue to be maintained.