Published: Friday, 15th December 2023
The Royal Borough of Greenwich is asking residents to have their say on how we spend our budget in 2024.
Every year we spend more than £311 million on everything from giving children a good start in life and supporting vulnerable residents to building brand new council homes.
But with an ageing population, growing numbers of children with complex needs and more and more families struggling with the cost of living, we have to do more with less.
Like many other councils, we are feeling the consequences of years of real-term budget cuts by the Government. We have lost 53% of our funding since 2010, and between the cost of living crisis, homelessness and other circumstances out of our control, demand for our help has never been higher.
And with the Council not receiving a new financial settlement from the Government until late December, planning for year ahead is extremely difficult.
Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Councillor Anthony Okereke, said: “Government tax cuts are being paid for by cutting funding to the public sector, and this means balancing our budget will come with some difficult decisions.
“To put this bluntly, we are dealing with a £40million shortfall because the funding we receive no longer meets the needs of our residents. With homelessness at record levels, we have had to spend an extra £12 million on sourcing temporary accommodation, on top of battling the impact of the cost of living crisis.
“Adding to this pressure, inflation alone means we have had to spend £11million more to provide the exact same services as we did last year.
“We want to make sure residents have a say on how we balance our budget, and we want to be open about the difficult decisions we're going to have to make.”
Councillor Denise Hyland, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said: “Local authorities across the country are dealing with financial instability due to government cuts.
“Despite us managing to balance the budget over the last few years, new pressures are pushing us to the brink, causing us to eat away at the reserves we keep in case of crisis.
“Across the Council we have been putting together potential saving initiatives and ways to increase revenue to ensure we are able to support those who need it most. This consultation is the perfect opportunity for residents to participate in the budget setting process and help shape the financial future of our borough."
Before the Council takes a decision, we’d like to hear your views on how we should set the budget for the coming year.
The consultation is open until Sunday 28 January.