Council passes budget for 2020/21
Councillors have agreed the Council’s budget for the year ahead which, in the face of government cuts, the Mayor of Hackney says will help to make the borough “fairer, safer, healthier and more sustainable”.
The Council’s budget for 2020/21 was approved at a meeting on 26 February. The proposals included a Council Tax increase of 3.99% - less than 90p a week for the average Hackney household.
The increase in Council Tax will help to address government cuts which has seen the Council’s core grant shrink by half since 2010, whilst demand for services has increased dramatically.
Despite increasingly challenging circumstances, this budget demonstrates that we are still ambitious for Hackney and includes investment decisions that will benefit Hackney’s residents and businesses, and help to make Hackney fairer, safer, healthier and more sustainable.
Demand for our services is increasing all the time, and this budget shows just how much of our funding we are having to invest in looking after vulnerable children and adults, on temporary accommodation for homeless families, and other vital services that the Government continues to inadequately fund.
We will also continue to invest in the services we all value, that keep us safe and which make Hackney such a great place to live, like our parks and green spaces, libraries, leisure centres, our cultural events, community safety team and youth centres.
Last year the Council declared a climate emergency, and making our borough greener and more sustainable runs through the heart of this budget. For example, we will plan an extra 30,000 trees in our streets, parks and green spaces, and install energy efficient bulbs in all of our street lights - saving money in the long-term.
Regrettably we have also had to increase Council Tax by about 90p a week for most people. We know that some people will struggle with this, so we’ve increased the amount of support available to help low earners via our Council Tax Reduction Scheme, and the budget includes an extra £500,000 to directly support our poorest residents, including help for families in food poverty to access fresh, healthy food.
Early indications suggest that in the coming years, London could lose £400m under the Government’s funding plans, continuing austerity for many years to come. We will continue to make Hackney’s voice heard, by lobbying the Government for a fairer deal for areas like ours, and we will always involve our residents and partners when we have difficult decisions to make about funding for services.
As this budget demonstrates - now, more than ever, we are ambitious for Hackney.