Newham

Discussions to take place on budget proposals

13 February 2020 in Finance
Proposals for a transformative three-year Budget designed to make people’s lives better will be considered by Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz and Newham Council’s Cabinet next week (Tuesday 18 February, Newham Town Hall, East Ham, 6pm).
​At the heart of the spending proposals is a bold Community Wealth Building vision that addresses economic and social inequality, raises living standards, invests in young people, supports an ambitious housing delivery programme and responds to the climate and health emergency.

It is a proposed Budget that allocates resources fairly and efficiently, sets down building blocks for a strategic inclusive economic strategy, embeds a new green economic approach for the future, and responds to the impact of ten years of government austerity.

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said: “This proposed Budget builds upon our overall investment and priorities and the good things that are already being done. It puts dealing with poverty, inequality, and climate change, at the heart of what we do as a Council. This is community wealth building in action. And, if approved, the Budget will support our ambitions to make Newham the best possible place for our young people to grow up and offer all our residents the chance to meet their potential.”

As part of the Council’s agenda of good governance and transparency, residents have joined the conversation about the proposed spending priorities and savings challenges through either Budget Forums or an interactive online simulator.

Overall the proposed Budget seeks to address a £45m funding gap over the next three years. Savings of £36.2m have been identified which, when taken with additional income of £9.6m from a proposed increase in Council Tax over each of the three years, would deliver this.

The proposed Budget also allows for growth spending of £10m each year above what is spent already, for new services or enhancing existing ones in line with the Mayor and administration’s priorities.

Councillor Terence Paul, Cabinet member for finance, said: “Our proposals will, if adopted, lead to a balanced budget being set for each of the three years. We will continue to act in the best interests of our residents.” 

With growth and investment also comes difficult decisions about where to save money and a proposed increase in Council Tax.

A ten-year freeze in Council Tax prior to last year’s Budget has meant that the Council has £19m less each year to spend over the next three years. An increase in the Newham element of Council Tax of 3.99 per cent in each of the three year financial years is proposed, of which two per cent will be ring-fenced for adult social care.

In 2020/21 this would mean a weekly increase of 77p for properties in Band D. Despite this Newham’s level is still expected to be the lowest in outer London. The Council has pledged to continue to protect those residents on the lowest incomes who will not be required to pay the full amount of Council Tax.

The Budget proposals will be voted upon at a meeting of the full Council on 2 March. Included in the proposals are:

A brighter future for young people
The Budget proposes £4.5m investment each year in services directly for young people. This includes:
  • £750,000 to implement Youth Safety Board recommendations
  • £1m for safeguarding adolescents
  • £1.2m to double the number of youth hubs to eight
  • £500,000 for to enhance Headstart mental health initiatives
  • £1m to support care leavers, foster carers, and other mental health services
Schools
The Budget proposes:
  • schools supported to provide the best possible educational opportunities through the Dedicated Schools Grant of £433m 
  • money to ensure personalised Education and Health Plans for all SEND children
  • to continue to fund the ‘Eat for Free’ programme of free school meals for all children to address the inequality of hunger and food poverty
Housing
The Budget proposes:
  • to invest in affordable, secure, decent housing for all
  • money to address the crisis in temporary accommodation
  • £1.4m per year to address the scourge of rough sleeping
  • £400,000 to create a team to repurpose unused properties
Climate and Health Emergency
The Budget proposes:
  • £1m per year in services to tackle the climate and health emergency
  • moving to a fairer emissions-based system of car parking charges whereby the least polluting cars would pay less
  • funding to encourage walking, cycling and use of public transport
  • funding to make Council homes more energy efficient
Cleaner Newham
The Budget proposes:
  • £500,000 to move to weekly recycling
  • £500,000 to enhance street cleaning services
Safe and liveable streets
The Budget proposes:
  • £1m to preserve funding for Metropolitan Police officers to focus on environment crime and anti-social behaviour 
For more information about the Council’s Budget proposals visit www.newham.gov.uk/budget​