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Time for setting budgets

In February councils across the country will be setting their budgets for the coming year –including making a decision on council tax rates.

Seven years of austerity cuts are causing the UK real pain and mean further cuts here in Ealing are unavoidable. Yet demand for services, especially for social care, is increasing year-on-year and we cannot turn our backs on the most vulnerable members of our community.

So, as well as making difficult decisions on where the council can make savings, we have set ourselves an ambitious challenge to review services and find ways to improve them with less money; be creative
and innovate – including harnessing digital technology.

We have also been working to grow our way out of austerity. Our regeneration projects have helped secure transport improvements and more decent and affordable homes; and, by encouraging new businesses to locate to the borough, new jobs have been created and more income has been generated from business rates.

Through careful financial management, we have tried to avoid placing too much of a burden on residents’ pockets and there has been a freeze on core council tax rates in Ealing for 10 years.

I will be writing to you all in the coming weeks once a decision has been made by the council on whether that freeze can continue in 2018/19 or whether the pressures on our borough’s finances are too
immense this year.

I can tell you now, though, that councillors have agreed to increase council tax support for our poorest residents.

Council leader Julian Bell
Council leader Julian Bell

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