Published: Friday, 6th September 2019

Statement from Cllr Danny Thorpe, Leader of the Council.

“After nine years of cuts, the amount of money this council receives from government has reduced by over £125million.

We know all too well that this sustained period of austerity has had huge impacts on people’s lives here in Greenwich. We know that cuts have consequences and as schools have returned this week after the summer break, 20,000 Greenwich children have begun the year whilst living in poverty. That’s about ten children in every classroom.

This spending review only covers one year and it is vital that we know what it means for our next four-year financial cycle which starts in April. We need continued and sustained increases in funding so we can protect vital services for our most vulnerable residents.

This country is going through an unprecedented period of uncertainty. Policies like Universal Credit have left 80 per cent of our tenants who receive it in rent arrears and struggling to make ends meet. Residents and businesses don’t know what impact Brexit will have on their finances, but due to government cuts we have had to put up council tax rates and are considering increasing charges for certain social care services.

Adult social care is in crisis and needs to be funded properly. The money which has been promised for adult social care is linked to further council tax rises and if this is implemented it could mean asking residents to pay up to 4% more whilst Brexit means every day goods and services get more expensive. 

Our departments are preparing their budget proposals now on the assumption that they will have less, not more, to spend. If austerity really is over, then we will receive enough funding to cope with the increasing demand on our services and start to recover from the impact of nine years of cuts, without having to ask people to pay more in tax and charges.”