Brent Council cabinet gives green light to £7.4million budget cuts and 3.99% council tax hike

Brent Civic Centre (Picture: Nathalie Raffray)

Brent Civic Centre (Picture: Nathalie Raffray) - Credit: Archant

Children’s centres, street lighting and customer services are among those areas facing cuts as Brent Council announced its latest budget proposals.

Cabinet chiefs agreed the budget set out for 2020/21 at a meeting on Monday (Feb 10), which includes more than £7 million cuts to services and a council tax increase of 3.99 per cent.

Cllr Margaret McLennan, deputy leader of Brent Council, said the level of savings was less than anticipated compared to last year and that efforts had been taken to protect frontline services.

However, children's centres in the borough are set to be developed into 'family hubs', saving the council almost £1.5 million.

Cllr Milli Patel, lead member for children's safeguarding, described this as "not ideal" but said she will "try to make the best of the situation".

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"My department is an area with vulnerabilities, but we still have to take our fair share of cuts," she said.

"We do find ourselves overspending due to the complexities of the cases we have to deal with. We've got to think carefully, and it can be very, very tiring."

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Adult social care services faces a hit of £250,000 due to a review of homecare and placement packages and the recommissioning of day care.

The council also plans to dim the borough's streetlights to save m oney and energy, while stop smoking services will be reduced to serve only pregnant women and mental health service users.

Customer services will be "modernised" and "streamlined" further through digitalisation, saving £425,000.

Further efficiencies will result in a total of £7.4 million worth of savings and, combined with another council tax increase, which includes a two per cent precept for adult social care, the council has achieved a balanced budget.

"We have to make our money go further to make sure that we don't touch those vital services our residents rely on," Cllr McLennan said.

"These decisions have been taken to leave us in a position where we can be proactive and look at ways to save money."

Cllr Muhammed Butt, Brent Council leader, pointed out that the council has lost £174 million worth of funding from central government.

He said: "The policies of austerity have not worked - they have caused misery and hurt.

"But we are here to protect all our residents and every single councillor is letting the Government know that they must consider the state of local government funding so we can continue to grow."

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