Council passes Havering budget for 2023/24
Havering Council has agreed a budget that ensures residents continue to receive the key services they value and rely on amid massive savings targets.
At the annual Council tax setting Full Council meeting last night (Wednesday 1 March 2023), the draft budget for 2023/24 was passed with 31 to 16 votes (1 abstaining).
Despite being one of the most challenging budgets ever, the Council has a package of plans to invest in the things that residents value the most.
These include keeping our roads and pavements repaired, making the borough safer, improving our schools, responding to climate change and building more homes.
In more detail, funding is being given to the following areas.
- £6 million investment in roads and pavements
- £650,000 investment to provide free 30 minutes parking in Hornchurch and Upminster town centres to encourage more trade and to provide a boost for local businesses
- £1 million to replace old lampposts with more energy efficient ones
- Additional £50,000 to upgrade lampposts for EV charging
- £290,000 to continue Council-funded Section 92 (S92) police officers
- £3.5 million to push forward upgrade of CCTV in borough
- £2.5 million for improving school classrooms and buildings
- £2.5 million for disabled facilities in homes
- £50,000 for school cycling and scooter schemes
- £376,000 for solar panels on council buildings to make them more energy efficient
- £1.2 million to begin work to remove North Street Roundabout at Romford and the underpass to improve safety and create a green space
- £1 million for work towards the Beam Park linear green route
- 197 of new affordable homes for Havering residents being delivered at New Green in Rainham and Park Rise in Hornchurch
- Agreed funding from the Housing Revenue Account to build more new homes that include the 12 Estates Joint Venture with Wates, the St George’s Park and Bridge Close sites
After one of the biggest consultations with residents where more than 3,000 people responded, the Council listened to views around their priorities which are reflected in the budget plans.
And residents also fed back on plans to end funding for Citizens Advice Havering and because of that, plans to cut funding will now not take place.
However, to provide a balanced budget the Council still needs to make £28.8 million of savings over the next four years.
This is due to the increase in older, younger persons and children social care costs, inflation increases and a reduction in Government funding over the years.
For the next financial year Council Tax will increase by 2.99 percent with an additional 2 percent, as set by Government, for social care – making the total proposed increase 4.99 percent.
This does not include the Mayor of London’s precept.
Council savings will also be made through being more efficient, changing how we fund and provide services and increasing our income and reducing or stopping some services.
Due to inflation, fees and charges are also increasing by 3 percent.
This includes for example - cremations, green waste collections, parking and installing dropped curbs.
The Leader of Havering Council, Councillor Ray Morgon, said:
“I am pleased the Council has approved our administration’s first budget, which will ensure we can continue to offer key services to the people of Havering.
“It is no secret that this is one of the toughest budgets this Council has ever had to face, as we find ourselves in the middle of a cost of living crisis and period of high inflation.
“We have had to make decisions that will be unpopular with some, including reducing some services and raising Council Tax.
“But we have done all we can to try and minimise the impact on residents by ensuring front-line services carry on with continued investment in the areas residents value the most.
"This includes more funding for public safety, keeping our streets repaired, the return of 30-minute free parking in Hornchurch and Upminster.
"We have also reviewed our plans around cutting funding for Citizens Advice Havering and closing the Children’s Centre at Elm Park for another year.
“The increase in Council Tax is clearly not good news for residents because other costs have gone up.
"But please remember, there is support available for those who need it either through our cost of living campaign or our Council Tax team.
“We still have a long way to go, with a further £28.8 million to save over the next four years, and the cost to provide services predicted to keep going up.
“However, I want to assure you we have plans in place to take on these challenges and do all we can to deliver the best services possible and make the borough the Havering you want to be part of.”
Residents can view a video from the Leader of the Council explaining the budget and the decisions taken on Havering Council’s YouTube channel.