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Have your say on the Council's budget for 2020/21

We are asking residents to have their say as we prepare our budget proposals for 2020/21.

Since 2010, the amount of money we receive from government has reduced by over £130million - that's over £1,000 per household. This decade of austerity, combined with increases in costs, means that we are facing an estimated £57m pressure on our budgets between now and 2024.

We have been able to protect most front-line services and saved money by making our back office processes more efficient, for example, by moving services online, and reducing the number of people we employ.

We are now preparing our budget to help us deal with the continued pressures, protect services for our most vulnerable residents and, most importantly, build a fairer Greenwich.

As well as continuing our drive to make services more efficient, building a fairer Greenwich means investing more to reduce poverty and improve our environment.

Reducing poverty by helping residents on the lowest incomes

Changes to council tax support scheme

We would like to reduce some of the burden for the most vulnerable residents who are reliant on benefits to pay council tax in any case. In December we consulted on changes to the support that working-age residents on low income can get to help pay their council tax. At the moment, working-age residents in receipt of council tax support still need to pay at least 15% of their bill. We would like to increase the maximum level of support up to 100%. This is one of the key recommendations made by Greenwich's independent Fairness Commission and could save some of our most vulnerable residents up to £200 per year.

Universal credit support

Last year, most people who responded to our consultation agreed with our proposals to prioritise our budget to make sure we can help the people who rely on our services the most. That includes help for residents who are losing out as they transfer to Universal Credit. Last year we set up a temporary Universal Support Team which has offered assistance to over 600 households. We are proposing to make this team permanent and agree to provide £750,000 for our emergency support scheme which helps our most vulnerable residents in times of crisis.

Investing in a greener Greenwich

We are proposing to invest £1.5m to improve our parks and green spaces, address the climate emergency help us on our journey to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Parks and green spaces

Greenwich is justifiably proud of its parks and of our incredible Friends of Parks groups.

Our parks are places for children to play, they provide habitat for wildlife and help clean the city’s air. We want to work with residents across the borough to make sure everyone has access to high quality parks and open spaces - it could be through improving equipment in existing parks, planting trees or greening neglected spaces.

Responding to the climate emergency

Last year the Council agreed we would aim to reach net zero carbon emissions 20 years ahead of the national target.

We have commissioned experts to look at where the borough’s emissions come from, and what policies and projects we should consider to reduce carbon emissions. This forms an evidence base to help us develop a fully costed carbon neutral plan, which will be consulted on later this year.

In the meantime the report identifies transport and buildings as the two key areas to tackle.

In transport we are looking to invest more in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, car clubs and measures that discourage car use and enable people to walk, cycle and use public transport.

We will invest in publicising and advising on how carbon emission reduction can be achieved for private buildings and homes, including creating incentives for replacing boilers with more climate friendly alternatives. We will also build a network of interested stakeholders, develop a partnership approach to working with the borough’s businesses and other organisations and promote a wide range of actions, including waste reduction and recycling, that people can take to help tackle global warming.  

Council tax

The government has assumed that local authorities will increase their council tax level by the maximum permissible rate of 1.99%, as well as an additional 2% for adult social care. We are therefore proposing to raise our council tax by a total of 3.99%.

Council tax band

Borough council tax 19/20

Draft borough council tax 20/21

Increase per week

A

£780

£811

60p

B

£909

£945

70p

C

£1,039

£1,080

80p

D

£1,169

£1,216

90p

E

£1,429

£1,486

£1.10

F

£1,689

£1,756

£1.30

G

£1,948

£2,026

£1.50

H

£2,338

£2,431

£1.79

We would also like to encourage empty properties back into occupation by charging an additional 200% council tax for homes that have been vacant for more than five years.

Please choose a response to each question.

Question 1

How do you think the council should deal with decreases in funding?

Please select one option only in each row.
  Strongly agree   Agree  Neither agree nor disagree   Disagree  Strongly disagree 
Reduce front line services like social care, street cleaning and libraries
Make efficiency savings
Increase the borough element of Council Tax
Increase income from other sources (e.g. fees and charges)

Please respond to the question.

Question 2

Do you have any other suggestions for how we should save money or increase income to balance our budget?


(Maximum 2000 characters )

Please choose a response to each question.

Question 3

To what extent do you agree that we should prioritise spending on these areas?

Please select one option only in each row.
  Strongly agree   Agree  Neither agree nor disagree   Disagree   Strongly disagree  
Reshaping social care services to improve outcomes for residents
Reducing poverty by helping working-age residents on the lowest incomes
Tackling the climate emergency and environmental issues

Please respond to the question.

Question 4

What other areas do you think the council should prioritise?


(Maximum 2000 characters )

Please ensure you select one response and complete additional text if required.

Question 5

Council tax

Do you think the Council should encourage empty properties back into occupation by charging an additional 200% council tax for homes that have been vacant for more than five years?

Please select one option only.
 
Yes 
No 

Please ensure you select one response and complete additional text if required.

Question 6

Business rates

Do you think the Council should offer rate relief to retail food premises that offer healthy eating options by signing up to the Healthier Catering Commitment?

Please select one option only.
 
Yes 
No