Council Tax bills will be frozen next year in a budget that puts delivering value for money for local residents at its heart.
Despite a tough government settlement that will see the council’s main grant cut by 20% over the next two years, councillors voted to freeze bills for the third year running at last night’s full council meeting.
Ealing Council leader, Councillor Julian Bell, said: “With the cost of living rising, I am keenly aware that local people are having to stretch their finances.
“Delivering value for money was one of our election pledges and I am determined to make the council’s money work as hard as it can, to deliver excellent services, while keeping Council Tax as low as possible.
“Sadly, the scale of government cuts are devastating and will mean we have to strip at least £55million out of our budgets over the next three years. But, we have planned properly and delivered a prudent budget to reduce costs while still delivering on the things that matter most to residents. Even in these times of austerity we must invest in the borough’s future.”
In addition to freezing Council Tax the council’s budget also sets out investments that include:
£45million for primary school expansions over the next four years
£8.7million to establish new community one-stop-shop services centres in Acton, Greenford and Southall over the next four years
£7.7million for renewing and repairing roads and footpaths over the next three years
£5.5million for regeneration of Southall town centre, including a car park, over the next two years
£968,000 over the next three years to improve parks
£685,000 over the next three years to make homes safer through alley gating, improved security at homes for people who have been burgled, at risk of domestic violence or hate crime.
Councillor Yvonne Johnson, cabinet member for Finance and Performance, said: “Like other councils across the country our budgets are being slashed, and we are making some really difficult decisions while trying to limit the damage of these cuts to residents.
“By re-organising the way in which we work, seeking to share services and procurement, increasing our buying power, we are looking to drive down costs and increase efficiency. For example, the council is expecting to spend £1.27million less on buying adult social care services by negotiating contracts in partnership with other west London boroughs.”