This year, for 2020/21, the council has reluctantly decided to take a 1.99% increase in core council tax, as well as the government’s 2% social care precept.
It will mean a weekly increase of around 90p on the council tax bill for the average band D property.
This will bring in an extra £5.6million. This is necessary, as many people will understand, because of the scale of the financial pressures we face, with a budget gap of nearly £37.6million to bridge by the end of 2023.
As I have explained before, funding from central government has fallen by 64% over the last 10 years. This means that, for every £1 the council used to receive it now gets just 36p.
Despite these pressures, residents rightly want to see good public services and for Ealing to be a great place to live. That is why we have worked hard to ensure we can invest significantly over the coming year in recycling, highways, in providing genuinely affordable homes and supporting our most vulnerable residents, including young people with special educational needs. In fact, we intend to invest more than £14million in total.
Decisions taken in previous years are also having an effect as our Future Ealing programme progresses. As Around Ealing reported in its winter edition, the council is nearly half-way to meeting its 2,500 genuinely affordable new homes target and now has the biggest council house building programme in London. The council’s Better Lives programme has been reducing pressures on adult social care by focusing on supporting older residents to stay in their own homes for longer. And it now ranks first in London for preventing homelessness (see page 26 of Around Ealing February-March).
Meanwhile, the council has set itself one of the most ambitious targets in the UK to respond to the climate emergency and intends to be carbon neutral by 2030 (see page 13 of Around Ealing February-March).