A budget for better homes, better streets, better lives
Published: 7 February 2019
Redbridge Council has unveiled a bold package of measures to invest in high-quality housing, better streets and support for vulnerable residents.
The budget plans come against a backdrop of steep central government cuts. The council has needed to make savings of £166m since 2010 in response to budget cuts and demand pressures and faces further savings cuts required of over £33m over the next five years.
Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Resources Cllr Kam Rai said: “We want Redbridge to be a great place to live and I refuse to let irresponsible national cuts stand in our way. This budget plan will deliver more of the high-quality housing, better streets and support for the vulnerable that our residents want and deserve. Central government may be abandoning our communities, but locally we want to step up with bold investments in a better future.”
The revenue and capital budget proposals will be scrutinised by councillors next week before discussion at Cabinet on 12 February. They describe how the council plans to allocate resources from 2019/20 to 2023/24.
To offset the government reductions in funding, a council tax increase of 2.99% is proposed, with an additional 1% to support adult social care.
The increase in Band D Council Tax for Redbridge is £37.55 and adult social care precept of £12.56 giving a total local band D for 2019/20 of £1,305.86. In addition, the GLA element has increased by £26.28 to £320.51 giving an overall total Band D of £1,626.37.
The budget proposals include:
- Plans for capital investment of £103.3m to deliver new homes in the coming years to overcome the severe shortage of affordable housing in the borough
- Plans for capital investment of £70m to buy 300 homes so that the council does not rely on privately rented accommodation
- £2m in new funding for high-tech CCTV and ANPR cameras in addition to the committed £1.5m, creating a ‘ring of steel’ round the borough to improve safety and tackle all forms of crime including fly-tipping
- Investing in the regeneration of Ilford town centre with £6.45m of new funding
- Continuing to invest in the Our Streets strategy including an extra £1m invested in street cleaning, enforcement and education while modernising services and supporting residents to take more control of neighbourhoods
- Continuing to invest in our Welfare Benefits Team, helping people claim the correct benefits they are entitled to
- Continuing anti-poverty work, including £0.009m to tackle concerns around period poverty and £6.1m to roll out the London Living Wage to all council contracts and encourage Redbridge employers to follow suit
- Creating a £0.250m fund to support and improve High Streets across the borough
- Continuing the work to tackle homelessness and poor-quality accommodation in some of the private rented housing sector, including implementing new licensing powers and investment
- Securing UNICEF child-friendly status, giving young people a decisive voice in the way the council makes decisions now and in the future
- Transforming the delivery of services for the vulnerable, including children in need and the elderly, by focusing on what is important to them.
We will also focus on how the council will become more efficient to help meet the funding cuts made by the government. Initiatives include:
- Improving digital services and encouraging channel shift to improve accessibility
- Exploring commercial opportunities to generate income that can be put into services
- Sharing delivery with neighbouring councils and cutting costs
- Continuing to focus on what is important to service users to transform delivery
- Investing in new technology to improve productivity and reduce costs
- Investing money wisely to generate a good return to put back into services
- Reviewing key frontline services to make them more efficient.
Cllr Rai added: “There is much more work to do: while we have set a balanced budget for next year, we estimate that the council still faces a £33.151m gap over the remaining five years. There is considerable uncertainty about this figure, because central government has refused to give us any clarity about our future funding arrangements. For instance, we await a decision about the future of the better care fund worth £8.7m. We will continue to work with residents and partners to make the hard choices we know are required to protect our communities from the challenge of austerity.”
Redbridge is a low-spend, high performing council. In the last financial year, we were the 29th lowest-funded London borough, but despite this we have protected frontline services and continued to invest in the future of our place.
- Been named as the sixth most productive council in the country
- Protected weekly bin collections, free bulky waste and green garden waste collections at a time when most London boroughs are reducing services in these areas
- Secured the second highest level of satisfaction with our adult social care services in the country
- Kickstarted the largest programme of regeneration and housebuilding the borough has ever seen.