Published: Thursday, 28th February 2019
Last month the Council asked residents to have their say on its budget proposals for 2019/20.
The proposals included increasing council tax by 2.99%, saving money on back office processes and prioritising measures to reduce poverty and youth violence.
Most people who responded agreed with our plan to spend less money as well as increase council tax by 2.99%. For a band D property, that means an increase of 65p per week.
Most people also agreed with our proposals to prioritise our budget to make sure we can help the people who rely on our services the most. That includes help for residents who are losing out as they transfer to Universal Credit, money for training and support to get people into work, and social care for our most vulnerable residents. We will also set up a serious youth violence reduction team to help combat and prevent youth and gang violence in the borough.
People who responded to the consultation also suggested other ways that we can save money and increase our income. We will go through these responses over the coming months as they will 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.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Danny Thorpe, said:
“One of the first things I did when I became Leader was to appoint a Cabinet Member dedicated to finance and resources to make sure every pound we spend goes towards helping us achieve the priorities set out during the election campaign.
Over the past few years we have done our best to protect most front line services. However, the reduction in central government funding, combined with increases in costs, has left us with a £125million shortfall, or £1,400 per household. That means, unless we do something about it, we will face a growing pressure on our budget of at least £7.5m every year.
Even though we have the 11th lowest council tax out of all the 32 London boroughs, deciding to ask people to pay more, especially in these times of economic uncertainty, has not been easy. But we are at the end of the line, and have had to make this difficult decision.
Over the next year, it will be even more important to work together. As we face the most uncertain economic times for a generation, I want to ensure we continue to make Greenwich a safe, welcoming and happy place and provide opportunities for everyone.”