Newham Council to invest over £20million into services in 2019/20 budget

8 February 2019 in Education
Newham Council is proposing to invest an additional £22.1million into its services through its 2019/20 budget, including the biggest investment into Children’s Services in a generation.
​The proposals, which were approved at a meeting of Cabinet this week (Tuesday 5 February), will see the budget reset in order to come in line with the priorities of the new administration.

The Council’s budget responds to demands of residents and the new priorities of the Council. As part of the proposals, it will put young people at the heart of what the Council does by investing into youth safety and youth services, whilst also supporting the borough’s most vulnerable residents.

Further investment will be made into the Council’s priorities in future years up to 2023, with this balanced budget providing a platform for future investment.

The 2019/20 budget proposals will be decided on at a meeting of Full Council on February 18.

Included within the budget are plans to increase the Newham element of Council Tax by 2.9 per cent, and a two per cent increase in the Adult Social Care precept. Newham is still expected to have the lowest Council Tax in outer-London. This increase, alongside a planned programme of efficiency savings, will allow the Council to invest more into services most valued by residents.

Changes will also be made to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) in order to protect the 19,000 lowest income households against the increases in overall Council Tax. The changes will see eligible residents pay just 10 per cent of their Council Tax bill, which could save Band D households an extra £118.62 each year.
The proposals agreed by Cabinet include investing:
  • £3m to pay the Council’s indirectly employed care staff the London Living Wage;
  • £1.4m more into youth services to keep our young people safe;
  • £6.3m so that primary school children continue to eat for free;
  • £10.6m more into Children’s Services;
  • £1.3m more to support children with Special Educational Needs;
  • £1.4m more to support 19,000 lowest income households by cutting the cost of their Council Tax;
  • £390,000 for free bulky waste collections;
  • £500,000 more to accelerate social housing delivery;
  • £250,000 to ensure residents are at the heart of our decision making process.
The Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, said: “This is a reset budget that will allow Newham Council to put residents at the heart of everything that we do.

“It will allow us to begin to implement the promises on which I was elected last year.

“As part of this, it will include the biggest investment into Children’s Services in a generation in this borough.

“This will ensure that we can enable, push and advance our young people and their talent in a fulfilling way.

“The proposals not only protect our people and provide services that are most needed, look towards long term investment in our borough, and pursue a community wealth building agenda because we need a better approach to local economic development that benefits the many.”

Budget proposals have incorporated comments from residents at the recent People’s Budget Forums. Three forums were held, in Stratford, East Ham and Beckton, and saw residents, councillors, business people and officers discuss the budget proposals. The events saw the diversity of Newham well-represented and a positive reaction to several proposals, including investment into youth services, investment into Eat for Free, and investing to pay care staff the London Living Wage.

Councillor Terence Paul, lead member for finance and corporate services, said: “This budget will allow the Council to invest more money in the services truly valued by our residents.

“We have been able to put £22.1million into some of our most valued services, whilst also protecting our most vulnerable residents with changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

“All of this has been achieved with an increased payment of just 89p per week from Band D properties for the Newham element of the Council Tax bill.”

The vast majority of Newham Council’s budget will be spent on services, with £94.8million available for adults and housing needs, £99.8million budgeted for children’s services, and £48million to be spent on community and environment.