Savings made as Redbridge Council agree budget

Redbridge Town Hall

Redbridge Town Hall - Credit: Archant

The council is to spend £130million on creating more school places after it agreed its budget last night.

Along with the £2.6m going into adult social care, it has agreed to create more than 7,000 school places and spend more than £2m on specialist placements for children with special needs.

The authority is freezing council tax – the sixth year in a row – and it is looking into providing more temporary accommodation, with a hostel in Perth Terrace, Gants Hill a possibility.

The budget accounts for three swimming pools, with the council looking to provide more activities for families by developing Hainault Forest Country Park and installing an adventure tower and climbing wall at Fairlop Waters.

In light of the £70m the authority needs to save, almost £13m is set to be retained by reorganising the way the council operates by “streamlining services” and renegotiating contracts.

Redbridge Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal said: “We have tackled the financial challenge head on and despite the enormity of the budget gap, our priority is to always do our utmost to protect and invest in frontline services and safeguard our most vulnerable residents.

“Through bold thinking and really hard work we’ve managed to save £37m.”

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He added: “We cannot guarantee to maintain all services indefinitely, but we are determined to take a positive approach to the very difficult position.”

The opposition leader has called budget plans for carers an “attack on the elderly” after it was approved last night.

Conservative Cllr Paul Canal strongly opposed plans to increase care charges from £350 to £450 and claimed carers would have to pay up to about £1,000 for support.

He said the budget would “force people not to get the support they need”.

Cllr Athwal said: “I absolutely refute the claims that we plan to charge carers up to £950 a year for support. It is simply untrue.

“The implementation of charges to carers who are currently in receipt of home care packages or direct payments to help with their role, is one of the many budget proposals put forward to provide income to assist with the budget deficit.”

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