Havering Council budget proposals include council tax hike

Havering Council budget proposals include council tax hike

Havering Council has proposed a 4.99 per cent council tax increase and included plans to close children’s centers in its draft budget.

After last year’s consultation, which received 3,188 submissions, the Council has now released its proposals ahead of next week’s consideration (7 February) and cabinet meetings (8 February).

They include a 2.99 percent increase in the municipality’s core tax for 2023-24, plus an additional 2 percent for the adult welfare bid.

This would give the council a total of £148.7m, accounting for 68 per cent of the council’s core spending power of £218.6m.

If the 9.74 per cent rule increase proposed by the Greater London Authority (GLA) is also passed, it would mean council tax on Band D properties in Havering would rise to £2,088.13 a year, according to council documents.

As already reported in the recorderHavering Council has described its current financial situation as “severe”, influenced by factors such as the war in Ukraine, demographic pressures and limited central government funding.

After a report to Cabinet last September found a deficit of £70m in the council budget for the next four years, including £19m for the 2023/24 budget, the local authority said it had now succeeded in reducing the forecast to cut overspending to £13.3million for the coming year through a host of proposed cuts and boosting his income.

In its report it adds that the position is expected to improve by the end of the year, although this is likely to ‘have a significant impact on the Council’s reserves’, which currently stand at £10.9m.

Cllr Ray Morgon, Chairman of Havering Council, described the budget proposal as very positive and very prudent (Image: Rat Havering)

In an attempt to tackle its multi-million pound deficit, the Council has outlined four priority areas; Improving business efficiencies, changing funding and service delivery, increasing income, and reducing or terminating services.

Collectively dubbed the ‘austerity proposals’, the council estimates it has so far managed to improve its position by £9.6m for 2023/24 and a total of £19.4m over the next four years.

Some of the revenue-boosting proposals include reviewing parking fees across the borough (although the free 30-minute free parking period will be extended to Hornchurch and Upminster), increasing annual bulky waste collection fees and increasing cremation fees.

Suggestions at the first budget deliberation included the possible closure of the Elm Park Children’s Centre, moving waste collection to every two weeks and removing funding from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

While the latter two are not included in the documents, a review of early support delivery is included.

In a media briefing, Cllr Keith Darvill, Labor leader and cabinet member for the environment, said the Elm Park Children’s Center would remain open “certainly at short notice”.

But the budget’s proposed savings document a “broader reorganization of childcare,” including plans to “permanently close Chippenham Road, Elm Park and Hilldene children’s centers and instead provide services that took place at those centers from other locations.”

The closure of Corbets Tey toilets and the removal of Council-supervised school crossing patrols are also proposed as areas of austerity.

During the media briefing, Cllr Darvill described the council’s approach as “positive but cautious”, adding: “We know that an increase in council tax will not be welcome… but we as council still need to be efficient and look to the future.” ”

This is local London: Cllr Keith DarvillCllr Keith Darvill (Image: Rat Havering)

Cllr Morgon also acknowledged the difficult background to the coming budget, describing it as “one of the most difficult and difficult budgets to put together in many years”.

But they added that investments such as home retrofits, the launch of new businesses in Havering and work on the climate agenda, as well as a significant equity funding program, would continue.

Sign up for our Romford Recorder newsletter here to get the latest news and features straight to your inbox.

“Yes, we are working in a very difficult environment at the moment… but we think the budget that we have proposed is very positive and very prudent,” said Cllr Morgon.

The proposals will now be examined and then presented to Cabinet next week before the full Council on March 1st.

In a separate Housing Revenue Account budget document, rent increases for community tenants and tenants from 7 percent rent are also among the proposals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *