Newham Council agrees budget for 2019/20

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz and Newham Council has tonight (18 February) agreed its budget for 2019/20 that will see £214 million spent on delivering services with residents at the heart.

The budget includes an investment of £22.1 million in services that are priorities of the Mayor and her administration and were identified as important by residents at the recent People’s Budget Forums in East Ham, Stratford and Beckton and during earlier Citizens Assemblies.

Mayor Fiaz said: “My administration is putting people at the heart of everything we do and this has been the focus of our budget discussions. I’m very proud of my first budget as Mayor. 
“It will have a positive impact for tens of thousands of residents. I also passionately believe in our young people and that’s why there is significant investment in areas that support them. The £1.3 million for special education provision, £10.6 million in children and young people’s services, and £1.4 million in youth services, is the biggest increased investment in our children and young people that this Council has proposed for a generation.” 
The budget also furthers the Mayor’s community wealth building agenda by paying the London Living Wage to 700 care staff indirectly employed by the Council.
Mayor Fiaz added: “There have been some difficult decisions as well, including a modest increase in Council Tax for the first time in ten years. It was not a decision taken lightly but our funding from the Government has reduced by £100 million over the past six years. And alongside that we also want to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our community by slashing their Council Tax bill by half.”
The 2019/20 budget means the Newham element of Council Tax will increase by 2.9 per cent and in addition there will be a two per cent increase in the Adult Social Care Precept. Together it means a household in a Band D property will pay 89 per week more in the Newham element of the overall charge.
Newham is still expected to have the lowest Council Tax in outer London. Support will be provided to 17,000 lowest earning residents through changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS). This will reduce the amount eligible residents pay from 20 per cent to 10 per cent of the their Council Tax bill. This could save Band D households an extra £118.62 each year.
More than 16,000 children will benefit from investment in the Eat for Free programme and almost 5,000 young people will benefit from the investments in youth services. And 2,000 children will benefit from the investment into special education needs.
The budget agreed by Full Council includes 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.​
Councillor Terence Paul, Cabinet member for finance and corporate services, said: “This budget will provide crucial support to some of the poorest people in the borough.
“It will positively touch the lives of many of the most vulnerable people in Newham, but it is also a transitional budget and the changes within it are just the start of the journey to get to where we want to be.”

Published: 18 Feb 2019