What is this consultation?
This consultation presents one of our proposals to make savings and earn revenue in Harrow Council services over the 2017-2018 financial year and future years. It is part of an ongoing series of consultations across the Council’s service areas – all of which are making savings and looking for ways to increase income.
Why are you making savings?
The Government continues to reduce its funding to councils, as part of its nationwide austerity programme. Those funding cuts, increased demand for services and cost inflation mean that Harrow Council has to save £83 million over the period 2014 to 2018. Harrow Council does not have large cash reserves, and spending them is not a responsible way to offset lost revenue. To be responsible and balance the books, Harrow Council has to make savings.
Why cut public services? Aren’t there better ways to balance the books?
Harrow Council is trying every way it can to increase its revenue. Harrow is now sharing legal, procurement and HR services with other councils, which is saving money and bringing in income. To boost growth and use its assets better, the Council has an ambitious regeneration programme to Build a Better Harrow.
We made cuts last year. Haven’t we done enough already?
Harrow Council’s gross budget is £560m, but most of that must be spent on housing benefit, schools and other services. The Government has strict rules about how that money should be spent and it can’t be used for anything else. The Council controls how to spend about £165m. This is where all our savings must be found. The funding for local government has been falling for 6 years and the Government has informed us that our main grant will fall by 93% over the next few years (worth more than £30 million to the council). This means that we need to continue reducing our spend every year.
Are all our services under threat?
Definitely not. The Council is actually increasing spending on issues that you have said are a priority. It will still keep our neighbourhoods clean, crack down on violence, look after the disabled, house the homeless and minimise the effect of these savings on people who rely on us. The Council is determined to protect vital public services – and will always care for the most vulnerable in our borough.
Raising Council Tax?
The Council wants to find the right balance between taxing our hard-working residents and providing the services you need. A 1% Council Tax rise equates to just under £13 extra per year for the average Harrow property. Council Tax accounts for just over 60% of the funding for our £165m net budget so is a significant element of our Funding.
Where did these proposals come from?
This is the third year of a four-year budget programme, which began with the Take Part Consultation. Almost 20,000 people have given their views. These proposals have been drawn up based on everything residents and staff members told the Council in Take Part. They have also taken the law into account – there are many “statutory services” which cannot be reduced.
Why are you consulting me? Hasn’t the Council already made up its mind?
The proposals which make up the draft budget have not been decided on. This consultation will help decide whether all the proposals are included in the Council’s full Budget in February.
We think our ideas are the best they can be, considering the financial challenges facing the Council. Now we need to understand how they will affect you, and find out if you know any better or fairer ways to make these essential savings.
Thank you for taking the time to help us.
This consultation has now closed.
|Name||Harrow Council Budget Consultation 2017/2018|
|Description||Asking for public views on Harrow draft budget:|
|Dates||From 9 Dec 2016 at 00:00 to 6 Jan 2017 at 23:59.|