A draft budget for Lambeth for the next financial year will be decided upon by the council on February 26. Here are the main facts on what could be coming in the next year:
The budget is a ‘community outcomes based budget’, which means that the council has set 13 ‘outcomes’ and worked out its budget around achieving these. The outcomes include “older, disabled and vulnerable people can live independently”; people are healthier, for longer; srime reduces; Lambeth residents have opportunties for better quality homes; All Lambeth communities feel they are valued; people achieve financial security. In previous years the council has looked at each service individually and identified how those services could make savings.
There is still some uncertainty about the extent of government cuts, which means that the council has had to estimate the amount of cuts. It may need to save more.
If residents need support with their council tax, it is now the local council that pays for this, rather than the Government, after Council Tax Benefit was replaced with Council Tax Support.
There is a lot of fluffy language in the proposal so we are making a plea for clarity when it comes to cuts…
SOME GENERAL FACTS:
118,000 = estimated shortfall of primary and secondary places in London by 2016/17.
526,000 = estimated number of new homes which would need to be built by 2021 in London to match the shortfall in available social and affordable housing through rising rents and property prices.
In Lambeth, 342 households already been affected by the benefit cap between August and November 2013.
One in six Lambeth residents have been affected by reductions in benefits since 2010.
Net general budget for 2014/15 is £313.7 million
In total the council expects its core funding to have been cut by 50% between 2010 and 2017.
£79.5m cut so far from the budget
More to be cut over the next three years: £95.6m, which means…
Budget to be cut by £25.4m in 2014/15
Another £32.4m of cuts has been identified for 2015/16 and 2016/17
Another £37.8m needs to be cut from somewhere – the council has not identified where.
Council tax to remain frozen.
Residential care for adults = £950,000 will go from the budget this year
Savings of £370,000 will be made in leisure and cultural provision by increasing prices and cutting arts funding by £110,000.
Waste and the environment budgets will be cut by £2,090,000. Community projects such as the snow wardens will be encouraged and the polluter will be made to pay – “we have to minimize the costs to all of us cleaning up after a small minority who don’t.”
Fees and charges for registration of births, deaths and marriages will likely go up. The registrar office will probably move from the Town Hall. And the council will try to raise more money from its wedding services.
Youth Services will be recommissioned through the Young Lambeth Cooperative.
£630,000 will be saved in a “redesign” of the early intervention service for early years children. This will, according to the council, mean “a reduction in the need for costly specialist services”, such as the care system.
The council will introduce a “universal care service”, which will mean a single referral point for all children and families across health, social care and education.
There will be a review of “all staff” working in children and families social care, saving £1170,000.
The contract for 23 police community support officers in the borough will not be renewed.
In HOUSING: “For most people, applying for social rented housing is not a realistic option.”
“The cuts to the budgets mean that we won’t be able to continue helping everyone in the borough. We will continue to support our most vulnerable residents, and offer support to them to find appropriate housing. In other cases, there will be fewer services available and residents will need to be increasingly self-reliant in arranging their own housing. In all cases it is likely that housing in the private rented sector will be the only option available.”
Savings in housing will total £1,580,000.
Homeless prevention payments to landlords will be reduced by £100,000. “Efficiency savings” will mean a further £100,000 cut from the housing budget. And “rationalization of teams and posts” will mean £290,000 saved.
Council expects to save £160,000 by “remodelling of financial support information, advice and advocacy services.”
Money made from housing shortlife is, according to this document, projected to be a total of £26,947,000 by March 2014. The council expects to make £10,204,000 from the “disposal” of “shortlife” housing in the months January to March this year alone. Though much of it was not technically ‘shortlife’, this includes the sale of homes on Rushcroft Road, following evictions that saw police clash with squatters.