Home / Local news / 2,000 local voices heard in council budget consultation

2,000 local voices heard in council budget consultation

Almost 2,000 local residents, businesses and community organisations have given their views as part of a six week ‘Your Borough, Your Future’ public consultation to help Tower Hamlets Council shape its budget for the next financial year.
Children’s services and education, protecting and supporting vulnerable children, and services for older and vulnerable adults are seen as the most valued public services across the borough.
A detailed report on the survey findings was officially approved by John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets and his Cabinet at a meeting held at the Town Hall on Wednesday 18 December.
The council has made major savings of £190 million since 2010 while continuing to find ways to deliver cost effective services and generate income from additional sources.
However, significant real terms government core funding cuts since 2010 and growing pressure on key public services mean that the council has to find an additional £39m of savings by 2023.
This will require a number of tough choices to be made to maintain good quality services and to continue to support the borough’s most vulnerable residents, including children and older people.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “Hearing directly from local people about the services they value and rely on provides crucial insight as we work towards setting our budget for next year.
“These are financially uncertain times and we’ve worked really hard to safeguard frontline services where we can. However, it is also clear that growing service need including those for many of our most vulnerable residents is only set to increase.”
Councillor Candida Ronald, Cabinet Member for Resources and the Voluntary Sector, said: “I’m grateful to all those who took their time to complete our budget consultation and delighted that we have almost 2,000 responses from local residents and businesses. We remain fully committed to achieving greater efficiencies, and safeguarding our residents from the negative impact of future funding cuts.”
The key findings of the Your Borough Your Future 2019 consultation include:
Overall, children’s services and education, protecting and supporting vulnerable children, and services for older and vulnerable adults were the most valued services in Tower Hamlets.
Protecting and supporting vulnerable children is seen as the most important service that the council should prioritise.
Over half of those who responded felt the council should reduce spending on temporary agency staff as well as generating more commercial income.
The majority felt that efficiency, availability and quality will decline as a result of further savings.
Around half said it was most important for the council to make services more efficient.
38 per cent support a general council tax rise of up to 2 per cent, with 51 per cent opposed, and 12 per cent who said they don’t know.
Just under half (47 per cent) were in favour of an up to 2 per cent increase in council tax to support adult social care services – slightly more than those who opposed it.
Around two-thirds of those who responded support the council expanding its approach to income generation.