Council Assembly agrees budget to protect vital services and support our most vulnerable residents
Councillors in Barking and Dagenham have agreed the budget for the next financial year – a budget which will continue to protect key services and support the borough’s most vulnerable residents.
The 2020/21 budget was agreed at a full council meeting in the Town Hall last night (Wednesday 26 February) and there will be no cuts to council services.
Since 2010, the government has made huge cuts to the council’s funding. At the same time, there continues to be increasing demand for services to support the most vulnerable residents, including adults and children in care. This is on top of mounting pressures in other services such as housing. Together, this amounts to a cut of two thirds. In Barking and Dagenham alone, we’ve had to save £162m in the last decade.
To continue to protect frontline services, the council agreed to increase Council Tax by 3.99%, and half of this will be ring fenced to pay for adult social care. The increase means the average family (that’s a family paying Band D) will need to pay an extra 95p per week.
Doing what’s right for local people is at the heart of every decision we make. Every year, £7 in every £10 of our budget is spent on caring for the most vulnerable people in our community.
Councillor Dominic Twomey, the council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Core Services said: “Doing what’s right for local people is at the heart of every decision we make. Every year, £7 in every £10 of our budget is spent on caring for the most vulnerable people in our community – from children we need to keep safe, to frail elderly residents who need help to remain independent in their homes or with dementia and who need expensive specialised residential care.
“We face a real challenge providing vital services as well as doing everyday things like household bin collections. And Council Tax only makes up 16% of the money we need to pay for all our services.
“While I’m pleased we’re not making any cuts to services in this budget, we still have a huge challenge just to pay for everything we do. That’s why this year we’ve had to take the tough decision to increase Council Tax by 3.99%.
“Doing this will raise £2.5 million - half of which will go towards paying for everyday council services. The other half (around £1.25 million) will go directly towards adult social care costs, to help vulnerable older residents. This is a lot of money, but the reality is it will only pay for the care needed by 35 adults living with dementia.
“We’re also working much more commercially to secure investment opportunities that will help boost money coming into the council and the local area. This means that despite the cuts, we’re still investing to deliver our residents’ priorities - in things like new affordable housing and initiatives to make our borough cleaner, safer and greener.”
Despite the cuts, we’re still investing to deliver our residents’ priorities - in things like new affordable housing and initiatives to make our borough cleaner, safer and greener.
Over the last few years, the council has delivered an ambitious transformation programme, attracted investment in the borough to generate growth, while redesigning services to better meet local people’s needs.
The 2020/21 budget also outlines how the council will make a further £12.7 million in savings.