Saturday 2 February 2013

Headline figures from the Brent Budget paint a dismal picture

If you are going to either of the public meetings about the 2013-14 Brent budget next week you may want to have a look at the documentation that is available on the Council website.  It is available on the Agenda for the February 11th Executive HERE and is item 21 of a 28 item agenda.

I will try and highlight the main points here.  As previously mentioned the Council Tax is unchanged despite a rise being built into earlier assumption and the Council intends to keep reserves at the current level.

Adult Social Care continues to be one of the main pressures on the budget. Here is a summary of the changes between 2012-13 and 2013-14:

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The forecast of savings required until 2017, which now assume no rise in Council Tax, are:

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One of the main clues to where the cuts will actually fall is on this grid LINK with an assumption of  substantial cuts in costs in 2014-15 through the out-sourcing of integrated health and the huge Public Realm contract which covers waste, recycling, street cleansing. parks maintenance and Brent Housing Partnership. The move to the Civic Centre is expected to yield net savings of  £500,000 in 2014-15 although I seem to remembers a figure of £4m being stated when the £100,000,000 cost of the Centre was queried. (Annual savings of £4m over 25 years was cl;aimed to mean that the Centre would pay for itself).

A fuller account of service costs pressures to 2017 can be found HERE . They include the transition of children with disabilities to adult social care, 'transitional clients (with learning disabilities) living longer into adult age', increased numbers of older people with dementia, increase in demand for children's social care placements, price increases from the West London Waste Authority and largest of all at £2.45m in 2013-14 for an increase in homeless demand as a result of the Local Housing Allowance changes. £0.3m is lost as a result of the Coalition's 28% reduction of the DWP grant for administering Housing Benefit and Council Tax benefit. There is an increased cost of £0.75m for youth offending services with a rather hopeful suggestion that this might be reduced in future. I rather doubt that unemployment, benefit cuts,  homelessness and continuing austerity will enable that hope to be fulfilled.

All in all a dismal picture and which once again raises the issue of when will the Council decide 'enough is enough;' and go on the offensive against the Coalition and refuse to deliver their cuts.

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