A couple of years ago Eric Pickles patronisingly suggested 50 money saving tips to local authorities. This year alone Newham must find savings of £50 million. By 2019, these cuts will average £91 million a per year. To put this in perspective, in 2014/15 we spent £87.8m million on looking after vulnerable adults and £52 million on looking after vulnerable children and young people.
So however much we ‘embrace video conferencing’ or ‘hot-desk’ our socks off, as Pickle’s helpfully suggests, we are unlikely to make the savings his Government has demanded. So we are going out to consultation to help us make much more difficult decisions about the services which matter.
Unfairly, but predictably, Newham is being hit hard by this Government’s cuts. Next year we will receive £284 less for every home in the borough, while wealthy Richmond residents only see a cut of £57 per home.
We have always been committed to fighting this government, to protecting the front line, and to finding imaginative and creative ways to make savings. Over the last five years we have already made £106 million in savings. In my cabinet role I am responsible for OneSource, which is our shared back office service. This is basically sharing things such as I.T., legal, property and H.R. services with Havering Council. Putting our political differences aside (Havering is a Tory borough) we have been able to set up a genuinely shared service which has saved Newham £5m in its first year. By 2018/2019 it is estimated it will achieve the cumulative savings of £41 million.
Despite this, and a number of other efficiency savings we still need to go further. So please get involved in helping us think about how we do that:
- If you haven’t already, please drop by a street stall – outside Maryland Station on the 24th at 10am or on 3rd October at Woodgrange Market at 2.30pm
- Pop into the library to pick up a questionnaire, or you can fill it out online here
- Join us on the 30th budget challenge community consultation meeting at the Gate Library at 6.30pm.
The results from this consultation will help the us take your views into account when we are setting the budget for next year.
Sadly, getting rid of the choccy bickies in meetings probably isn’t going to help tackle this problem, so please make sure your voice is heard.
If you have more detailed questions about this consultation, you can check out the Q&A doc here.