Brent Council to make £18m worth of cuts in the next year
PUBLISHED: 11:32 06 March 2014 | UPDATED: 14:53 06 March 2014
Brent Council has given the green light to budget proposals which will see sweeping cuts of about £18million across public services.
Labour councillors voted in favour of the plans that will drastically reduce funding for adult and corporate services by more than £4m, to £91m and £49.5m, respectively.
Environment and neighbourhoods will have its budget slashed by about 10 per cent to just over £32m and children and young person services will be reduced by 7.1 per cent to £41.5m.
However council tax will be frozen for the fifth year.
The cuts were rubber-stamped at a meeting on Monday.
Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of the council, said he had to plug a multi-million pound shortfall due to central government cuts.
“We have scoured our spending plans to identify more efficient ways of working and endeavoured to develop new and innovative ways of providing services to our residents, delivering the same outcomes but at a lower cost.
“This budget includes a £100m school building and expansion programme, and an ambitious plan to build almost 3,000 affordable homes in our borough by 2018.”
Campaigners from Brent Fightback (BF), an anti-cuts organisation, staged a protest outside Brent civic centre ahead of the meeting.
Sujata Aurora, from BF, said: “Brent Council should stop doing the government’s dirty work and stand up for residents in opposition to the cuts.”
Cllr Suresh Kansagra, leader of the Conservatives, said the council needed to invest in culture and religious events and introduce free parking to boost local businesses.
The Liberal Democrats offered amendments, including the allocation of £500,000 to reopen the libraries closed in 2011.
They also proposed additional funds to preserve the borough’s highways and increase street cleaning and waste management.
Cllr Paul Lorber, leader of the Brent Lib Dems, said: “We heard the leader say that he was looking after the best interests of borough residents, meanwhile a large number of people feel ignored by the council.
“All of his words are meaningless unless the council starts listening to what locals have to say.”
Cllr Butt said: “I will do everything in my power to protect the vital frontline services on which local people rely.”