Lambeth agrees 2018/19 Budget

27 February 2018

Written by: Lambeth Council

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Lambeth councillors have agreed proposals to help plug a funding gap of more than £40m, while protecting services for some of the most vulnerable people in the borough.

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At a meeting of the full council, Lambeth councillors approved the 2018/19 budget, along with a financial strategy that will cut more than £30m from council spending over the coming years.

But Cllr Imogen Walker, Deputy Leader of the Council (Finance and Resources), said the cuts would be kept to a minimum – and the budget would “protect the most vulnerable adults and children from the worst effects of austerity”.

Hundreds of young people leaving care in Lambeth will be exempted from paying Council Tax until they are 25, under plans to help give them the most stable start possible to their adult lives.

New savings

A Budget report to council stated that the central government’s austerity agenda had meant that, between 2010 and 2020, Lambeth’s core government funding will have been cut by more than half, forcing savings of over £250m in spending on council services. Lambeth has already cut millions from spending on services, but the council still faces a total funding gap of £40.739m between 2018/19 and 2020/21. The council has agreed savings of over £28m over the period 2018-2020 to help close the funding gap. The report put forward a further £6.783m of new savings covering the period 2018/19 to 2020/21 – the period of Lambeth’s Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS).

Making savings, keeping services

Cllr Walker said: “We’ll focus our spending on those who need it most: we’ll drive down costs through negotiation, innovation and working with our partners; and we’ll invest in social housing and preserve front-line services. After 8 years of austerity from central government, this is an impressive achievement and demonstrates the value for money that we continue to deliver for Lambeth taxpayers”.

The budget measures are designed to deliver savings without impacting on front-line services, by making the council more efficient. They include the completion of the Your New Town Hall project (saving £4.5m per year), rolling out new technology and training to staff, and digital services to residents.

Investment

This report also sets out the Council’s capital investment programmes (CIP) including the investment of over £857m in the last four years in roads, pavements, parks and transport improvements. Over the next two years, the Council commits to investing £126m to continue to bring the Council owned roads and facilities right across the borough up to the highest standard.

Helping vulnerable care leavers

The new Care Leavers Relief Scheme (CLRS), was drawn up amid nationwide concerns that young people leaving council care are less likely to be in full time employment and more likely to struggle to manage their finances and fall into debt.

The landmark proposal, which followed a campaign by the Children’s Society is among a series of key changes set out the budget for 2018/19 to 2020/21.

The budget proposals also detail a 2.99% increase in Council Tax, plus the Government’s 3% Adult Social Care precept, totalling 5.99%. The Lambeth element of Band D Council Tax will rise by just under £1.20 a week


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