“The spending decisions taken in this year’s council budget will affect every part of life in our borough – our streets, roads, park, schools, as well as the quality of care that is given to people who are more vulnerable.
The decisions also taken will form part of a much bigger conversation about how we can make Havering an even better place to live than it is now.
However, before we set any council budget, the most important thing is to listen to what people have had to say.
This is just what we have done and people told us that one of their major issues is the state of our roads and pavements. And, even though Havering is a safe borough, people are worried about safety after dark.
We also heard that the quality of care provided to people who are more vulnerable should be a priority, while people value their weekly bin collection.
Despite the significant savings that the council has to make over the next three years, which is as our contribution to reducing the national deficit, we have managed to take on board all these issues as part of our proposals for the 2019/20 budget and beyond.
Last week Cabinet approved plans to spend £30 million over the next three years on improving the quality of our roads and pavements. Hundreds of roads and pavements will be resurfaced and thousands of potholes fixed.
In doing so, we recognise just how important the quality of roads and pavements are when it comes to getting round the borough.
To help fund the improvements we are looking to increase parking charges by bringing them into line with other boroughs.
I know this may not be popular with some, but the money will be spent on solving one of Havering’s biggest issues, which is dealing with the state of our roads.
Rather than burdening council tax payers with all the cost, I think it is fair to also ask people who do not live in our borough, but use our roads, to make a contribution.
In the budget you will also see that we are maintaining a weekly refuse collection, largely protecting spend on social care that makes such a difference to people’s lives and investing in CCTV to improve community safety.
Through this process we will make £14.6 million of savings as part of the £37m that we need to save over the next three years.
While we are doing everything we can to make those savings in ways that you won’t notice – for example by continuing to cut our back office costs and delivering services in a different way- there is no doubt that we will face some tough decisions.
We face these headwinds while being hugely ambitious for Havering.
We want to make sure that you are proud to live here which is why, separate to the budget, we are attracting more than £3bn of investment in the borough to improve our neighbourhoods and town centres, build more genuinely affordable homes and create new job opportunities.
The future for Havering is bright indeed.”