Published: Wednesday, 30th January 2019
The Royal Borough of Greenwich is asking residents to have their say on its budget proposals for 2019/20.
Reduction in central government funding, combined with increases in costs, means that for 2019/20, the Council is facing a £7.5m pressure on its budget.
The proposals include reducing expenditure on non-essential services and increasing council tax by 2.99%.
The Council is also asking residents for their views on three priority areas which could receive additional funding in 2019/20:
- setting up a serious youth violence reduction team to help combat and prevent youth and gang violence in the borough
- providing support and advice for residents who are moving across to Universal Credit
- providing training and support to help people return to work.
'The amount of money we receive from government has reduced by over £125million'
Cllr Christine Grice, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said:
"Since 2010, the amount of money we receive from government has reduced by over £125million - that's well over £1,000 per household. At the same time, our costs have risen due to inflation and because more people need to use our services.
"Over the past few years we have been able to protect most front line services. We have saved money by making our back office processes more efficient, for example, by moving services online, and reducing the number of people we employ. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to cope with reductions in funding through efficiency savings alone – which is why we are considering another increase in council tax.
"Before we finalise our proposed budget, we would like to hear residents' views about this proposal and our priorities. Their responses will also feed into a much more detailed consultation we will do later this year as we prepare for the next budget cycle which starts in April 2020."
'Relentless cuts from central government'
Cllr Danny Thorpe, Leader of the Council, said:
"Although we have the 11th lowest council tax out of all the 32 London boroughs, asking people to pay more at a time of economic uncertainty is not easy to propose. Unfortunately, the relentless cuts from central government are making it increasingly difficult to protect our vital frontline services.
"We are proposing to prioritise our budget to make sure we can help the people who rely on our services the most. That’s why our proposals include help for residents who are losing out as they transfer to Universal Credit, and money for training and support to get people into work. Social care for our most vulnerable residents also remains a priority."
The consultation closes on Sunday 10 February 2019.
The 2019/20 budget will be debated at Full Council on 27 February 2019.