Financial Management and Short-Term Objectives
- Our plans for regenerating areas of the borough, providing new homes and new jobs, continue apace and we continue to work with organisations such as Transport for London and the Greater London Authority to ensure that the Royal Borough gets the transport and infrastructure that our residents need and deserve. We also continue with our vision to create new job opportunities for residents, tackle poverty and unemployment with new training and skills provision and opportunities, expanding leisure and library facilities and revamping some of the borough’s high streets, which remain among our priorities for 2016.
- There is tremendous need for additional support for adult social care, which is facing unprecedented demands with a growing ageing population. Children’s social services also continue to face huge pressures, and, with further cuts from central government and benefits continuing to bite, the financial situation for local authorities remains challenging. Our priority is to ensure that the people hardest hit by cuts, oftentimes the poorest and most disadvantaged, are protected and continue to receive services that they need.
- The Government has proposed changes to the way local councils are funded by them, and it is now allocating its funding to local authorities based on the assumption that councils will raise council tax by two per cent to cover the increasing cost of funding adult social care services locally. The government has also said that it expects councils to raise council tax by a further amount to cover inflation. Given the increasing calls on children’s social care, the Council is proposing to spend this additional amount on services in that area.
- It is only right and proper that we prioritise services and support for our most vulnerable residents and so, this year, for the first time in nine years, council tax in the Royal Borough will rise.
- The Royal Borough of Greenwich has set out a strong four-year programme of savings, aimed at protecting vital frontline services for our residents. We are making wide-ranging changes to services to ensure they are delivered more efficiently – while at the same time offering support to help people become more self-reliant. Even so, the level of demand for care services continues to rise, which means we need to plan ahead to ensure that sufficient services are in place to meet the demand for them.
- Coupled with the need to keep tight control over our expenses, we also need to ensure that our borough grows, not in size, but in our housing, transport and job opportunities. We also need to ensure that Royal Greenwich maintains it world- renowned reputation as a centre for historic tourism, which brings about £1.2 billion to our local economy each year, helping to provide jobs for local people.
- We also believe that playing our part in attracting new businesses to the borough (and with them new jobs for local people) as well as working with tech-companies to develop new and future-focused technologies that will help take us all into the future, is important. These, too, also attract money and jobs to our borough. We need to ensure that our local economy is strong so that residents, and businesses, thrive here and want to be here, so that residents can access the housing and job opportunities that we need to help our borough continue to grow and thrive. So, in 2016, we will drive forward our internal organisational changes, continue to ensure that residents receive the information that they need for new job and training opportunities, and, above all, protect the vulnerable in our society.
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