Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville responds to the 2020 Budget delivered by the Chancellor in the House of Commons this afternoon.
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 have seen the Council’s core grant shrink by half since 2010, whilst demand for services has increased dramatically. Hackney has seen the biggest funding cut per household of any London borough, at £1,459.
Find out more about the scale of Hackney’s budget challenge on the Budget page.
The Government made a series of announcements on sick pay, business rates relief and grants for small and medium-sized businesses, and a hardship fund for local authorities to support vulnerable residents.
The Council will hold urgent discussions with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to understand how residents and businesses will receive support.
Read Public Health England’s guidance for employers and businesses.
Adult social care
Adult Social Care spending in Hackney has increased by a further £4.2m compared to last year – largely due to additional costs and increased numbers resulting from service users being discharged from hospital with more complex needs.
These pressures will be partially offset by the proposed 2% rise in Council Tax to directly contribute to adult social care and additional one-off funding for social care announced by the Government, but this additional revenue is significantly below the additional cost pressures forecast and does not provide a sustainable settlement for social care. Although we have delivered £30m in savings over the last nine years, we’ll spend £108m this year alone.
The Government must address the fundamental issue of how to fund social care by the forthcoming full Spending Review. With the Adult Social Care Green Paper having been delayed five times over the last two years, a sustainable long-term solution is long overdue.
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
As a Council, Hackney has been long been raising concerns with the Government about the SEND funding crisis. In the past we referred to it as a ‘hidden crisis’, but over the last few years, councils across the country have reached breaking point and have joined our calls for the funding of SEND to be reformed.
Despite our pleas, when the Government announced extra funding for SEND last year, they allocated us a further £4m – about half of the extra funding we need. So far, we’ve found this money by making savings elsewhere, using reserves, one-off grants and moving money from other education funds, but we can’t keep doing that.
The Chancellor announced no new funding in today’s Budget.