‘In the face of huge financial pressure, we will stay true to our values’
Lambeth’s Cabinet have approved the council’s budget for the next three years. The government’s cuts to council funding are unprecedented and mean we have to find another £55m of savings in the next three years, on top of the £183m already saved since 2010.
We’ve campaigned hard against cuts to adult social services and education but we have to get on with using our values and our resident’s priorities to determine how we deliver the best outcomes for all.
Despite these huge financial challenges, I believe our budget plans will protect the services that residents care about. In particular that’s about protecting street cleaning (which residents tell us is there number one issue), investing in our parks and open spaces (where we have a record number of Green flags), investing in better homes for our tenants and fighting for better homes and transport for the borough.
It’s also about staying true to our values as a council, by focusing on protecting and supporting vulnerable adults and children, tackling violence against women and girls and continuing to provide support for poorer residents facing welfare cuts.
We’re able to do this by maintain our approach since 2010, which has been to focus on making back-office efficiencies and changing services rather than stopping them all together. That’s why we’re making £20 million of savings from efficiencies like renegotiating contracts, merging back-office services and moving all postal services online, as well as £7 million from income we’ve worked hard to generate. There’ll be changes to how we work for residents with more services online which will mean reduced customer services at Gracefield Gardens and West Norwood Leisure Centre. There will be some changes to services like children’s centres and playgrounds but they are benefiting from years of work with our community partners to keep them open, despite the financial challenges. All of our service changes will be made in consultation with the users and staff of them.
The challenges and the decisions we have to take are tough but we’ll continue working hard to keep Lambeth a great place to live. That means attracting inward investment that boosts the local economy, ensuring the benefits of growth are shared by all. We are determined to tackle inequality and focus resources on those most in need, with fairness and ambition at the heart of what we do, to encouraging citizens to work with us and cracking down hard on people who don’t play by the rules.