Where can savings be made? Redbridge Council asks residents to help set budget
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Redbridge Council is holding a series of virtual events to give people the chance to tell it what services matter most to them and potential ways to make vital savings over the next five years.
The council says it faces an additional forecast gap of £43m in the current year budget, largely due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The government pledged to repay local authorities for their work keeping local people safe during the pandemic. However, the council says so far it received only £18m of the estimated £61m forecast to be spent to keep local people safe in Redbridge.
The council has also published its Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS), which outlines a forecast budget gap of £83.663m between 2021 and 2025.
In 2021/22 alone, Redbridge Council has to make £25.193m of savings, and is asking for residents’ help to decide where these savings should be made.
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Council leader Councillor Jas Athwal said: “The situation we’re currently facing is serious. As a result of the pandemic, the UK is on the brink of a hard recession, which will particularly impact the more vulnerable members of society. We’ve already had to make savings in Redbridge of more than £180m over the past 10 years due to government cuts.
“We’re now facing an additional £43m spending gap this year alone.
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“The stark truth is there isn’t any more low-hanging fruit to pick from after 10 years of austerity, and we will soon be confronted with some difficult decisions.”
He added: “It is therefore vital that we hear residents’ views on what services matter most to them. We want to make sure that the services we provide meet local needs and support our communities through what will undoubtedly be a turbulent time over the coming years.”
Cllr Kam Rai, deputy leader and cabinet member for finance and resources, said: “I would encourage everyone to attend a budget event and have your say.”
You can tell the council what services matter most by completing the survey or attending one of the virtual public sessions on:
Tuesday, September 8, 12.30-2pm
Monday, September 14, 6.30-8pm
Thursday, September 17, at 12-1.30pm
The consultation will run until Monday, December 7.