In a presentation to the Labour Party's Brent Forum at the weekend, current leader Council leader Muhammed Butt, warned members of a looming budgetary crisis in 2014/15. There was an expected 11.8% cut (£19.3m).
Even worse, there would be 7% annual cuts until 2020 threatening the future of local government as we know it.
In 2014 the Council would have to bring forward difficult decisions that they had not expected to have to make until 2015/16. He promised 'more and better consultations' and put forward the idea of a 'community budget - giving residents the choice of which servces to protect' over a 6-9 month consultation period 'using innovative methods to reach more residents'.
This of course falls far short of a 'needs budget' that would be used as a campaigning tool against the Coalition cuts and benefit changes, uniting the Council with voluntary organisations, community groups, trades unions and residents.
The Brent Fightback slogan 'Enough is Enough' seems justified by Butt's bleak view of the future in the sldie entitled 'What Future for Local Government?'
- •Growing demand for social care services
- •By 2020 – ‘non statutory’ spend will be reduced from 2/3rd to 10% of total budget
- •This means: no youth centres, no parks maintenance, no street cleaning, no employment support, no arts funding & no voluntary sector support
- •Increased funding from central government
- •Allow us more freedom over tax and revenue
- •Remove Statutory Obligations
- •Integration with partners – voluntary sector, businesses, NHS, police
- •Greater involvement of local residents in the design & implementation of services