Investing for a new Redbridge: new budget will deliver on council’s priorities

Published: 8 October 2018

Redbridge Council has unveiled a bold package of measures to invest in the borough’s future, with proposals to deliver thousands of new homes, and plans to crack down on rogue landlords, transform our street services and bring the benefits of regeneration to all our residents.

Proposals in the budget will also see a new approach to supporting our most vulnerable residents with intensive up-front support to stop problems turning into crises, alongside new measures to put children and young people at the heart of council decision-making.

The plans come against a backdrop of steep central government cuts. The council has seen its budgets fall by £166m since 2010 and will have to raise all of its funding locally by 2021.

Leader of the Council Cllr Jas Athwal said: “We want Redbridge to be a great place to live and I refuse to let irresponsible national cuts stand in our way. This three-year budget plan will deliver more of the high-quality housing, better streets and support for the vulnerable that our residents deserve. Central government may be abandoning our communities, but locally we want to step up with bold investments in a better future.”

The budget strategy and capital investment reports, which will be scrutinised by councillors this week before discussion at Cabinet on 16 October, describe how the council plans to allocate resources from 2019/20 to 2021/22. 

Budget strategy:  Key points

The budget report and other proposals due to come forward include:

  • Continuing the work to tackle homelessness and poor-quality accommodation in some of the private rented housing sector, including implementing new licensing powers.
  • Plans for capital investment to deliver 5000 new homes in the coming years to overcome the severe shortage of affordable housing in the borough.
  • Transforming the delivery of services for the vulnerable, including children in need and the elderly, by focusing on what is important to them.
  • Securing UNICEF child-friendly status, giving young people a decisive voice in the way the council makes decisions now and in the future.
  • Continuing to invest in the Our Streets strategy including the extra £300,000 to reduce grime while modernising services and supporting residents to take more control of neighbourhoods.
  • The committed £1.5m to high-tech CCTV and ANPR cameras, creating a ‘ring of steel’ round the borough to improve safety and tackle all forms of crime including fly-tipping.
  • Continuing the transformation of customer services so that the elderly and disabled can access services more easily.  
  • Establishing a new commission of experts, working alongside residents to advise the council, police and other partners on how best to tackle serious crime.
  • Continuing anti-poverty work, including rolling out the London Living Wage to all council contractors and encourage Redbridge employers to follow suit.
  • Continuing to invest in the borough’s parks with the £1.6m earmarked to improve and replace play equipment.

Becoming more efficient

The report also focuses 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.

The council is developing a series of ambitious proposals to bolster the council’s financial position and contribute to the net budget.  The council will publish these ‘pipeline’ proposals and engage with the public on them.

Cllr Kam Rai, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said: “Our budget proposals lay the foundation for 2019 and beyond.  We will invest wisely to reduce homelessness, radically improve the efficiency of frontline services to build on the high quality already delivered to our customers and maximise the benefits to residents of all our assets.  Once again, our proposals demonstrate our determination to lead a borough that puts its residents first in everything it does despite the continuing damage of eight successive years of government cuts to local services.”  

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