Newham's response to the Budget

27 November 2017 in Finance and Mayor
Sir Robin Wales Mayor of Newham, said: This budget does not go far enough in fixing the issues our residents are facing. Instead, this budget shows the ineffectiveness of this government in addressing the concerns of real people, and uninspiring policies shows the Tories are unfit for government.
​Social care was completely ignored in the budget despite calls that councils are struggling with the lack of government funding. Some councils have resorted to using their reserve money to plug the financial gaps. At Newham we have avoiding taking those drastic measures and we are innovating our approach, but some government help would have gone a long way.

Newham residents are at the forefront of the housing crisis. The Chancellor has announced no immediate help for the 46% of our residents that are living in the private rented sector and are struggling to meet soaring rents and bills. Instead the budget announced yet another consultation rather than action.

We have shown that licensing properties in the private rented sector can play an vital role not only in protecting tenants and driving up standards in the private rented sector, but in supporting the Treasury to recover unpaid tax by landlords. The Government should have seized this opportunity to tackle tax evasion and recover funds that are so vital to protecting our public services .

It is also disappointing that the Government did not choose to take action to address the spread of Fixed Odd Betting Terminals (FOBTs) by reducing the maximum stake to £2. Betting shops are clustered in Newham, contribute to crime and anti-social behaviour and add little to the local economy. Instead they plunge our residents into debt, and we cannot afford to wait for a change in the law any longer.

Research shows that the costs to health services, wealth and employment, housing and criminal justice incurred by people who are problem gamblers could be costing the Exchequer up to £1.16 billion a year.

FOBTs allow £100 to be bet every twenty seconds. Last year, in Newham alone, it is estimated that nearly £20 million was lost on FOBTs. That is the price some of our poorest and vulnerable residents are paying because of ongoing inaction to address this issue once and for all.”