A better Hackney in tough times: ambitious new Council budget agreed

An ambitious budget for the year ahead has been agreed by the mayor and councillors, renewing the Council’s commitment to working together for a better Hackney despite the financial challenges facing councils nationwide.

The approved budget means the Council will balance the books for 2024-25 despite higher costs, a growing population and increased demand for services, following government cuts that leave the Council with a significantly lower real terms income than in 2010.

With other councils across the country being forced to make deep cuts – and many effectively facing bankruptcy – the budget maintains the vital frontline services residents rely on, alongside continued investment in Hackney's children and building a fairer, safer, greener and healthier borough.

This includes £4.7m spending on the Council’s award-winning employment and training programmes, nearly £150m in maintaining and building new Council homes, and over £12.3m on community safety initiatives like the Community Gangs Team ─ a unique partnership approach to supporting people away from the risks of violent crime.

Over £55m has been earmarked to deliver on the Council’s net zero ambitions – while bringing health benefits and energy cost savings – including insulation, decarbonisation and electric vehicle projects. A further £16m will help maintain community investment in areas such as Hackney’s 58 parks and green spaces, and seven sport and leisure centres, including £1.7m to refurbish play areas.

A further £10.2m will be spent on youth and early help services for families, including the Council’s four youth hubs and network of six adventure playgrounds, with £21m investment in improving school buildings and increasing provision for special educational needs.

The budget also includes a 4.99% increase in the Council’s element of Council Tax to raise an additional £5m to help maintain important services the Council provides, adding around £1 a week to the bill for a Band B property. This maintains one of the lowest Council Tax rates in London, and is offset by an increase in Council Tax support for low income households who can now get a reduction of up to 90% off their bills, while more owners of empty homes will see their Council Tax bills doubled to raise additional income while bringing much-needed homes back into use.

The vast majority of the Council’s budget is spent on frontline services targeted at those most in need, with a greater proportion of Council funding being directed towards areas such as social care, homelessness and children’s services, where demand for and the cost of supporting residents has increased.

Caroline Woodley, Mayor of Hackney

My first budget as Mayor of Hackney comes in hugely difficult financial circumstances, with the long-term impact of growing demand, rising costs and over a decade of government underinvestment putting huge pressures on local services across the country.

That’s why I was determined to present an ambitious budget that not only balances the books at a time when so many councils are struggling to do so, but also shows that we can continue to work together for a better Hackney no matter how many challenges we face. Continuing to invest in frontline services, and protect Hackney’s most vulnerable residents, will always be my number one priority. 

Presenting a balanced budget in current circumstances has been a huge challenge. We cannot continue to run our services with the uncertainty of one year settlements when we have seen the impact it is having on our residents. With a need to find more than £50m in further savings over the next three years, we will have to keep making the case to the Government for proper, sustainable funding for local services, just as we have helped secure councils an additional £600m in this year’s funding and are now pushing for the vital Household Support Fund to be extended.

Caroline Woodley, Mayor of Hackney