26 February 2011

Lambeth cuts £37million from budget but promises to protect the most vulnerable

As you may have seen in the press locally and nationally councils are having to make cuts to cope with a drop in central Government grant to local authorities. In Lambeth's case savings of £37million are having to be made.

At the budget setting meeting on 23 Februasry 2011 Lambeth Council passed a budget which will result in cuts to council services. As a result of the cuts in grant it has had to prioritise services, making cuts in some to enable it to continue funding others.

Council Leader Steve Reed stressed he was making the cuts very reluctantly in the face of central Tory and Lib-Dem government cuts in spending, he commented “The government cuts have led to the hardest decisions we have ever had to make. We’ve cut costs by taking out tiers of management, eliminating waste, freezing pay and looking to share services with other councils, but still that is not enough to meet the hole in our finances left by these funding cuts. I don’t believe that any of my colleagues came into public service to make decisions like this, but the extent of the cuts mean we have had no choice but to look at cutting or reducing some services and it’s clear that services that people use every day will be affected.”

Read Steve's speech and impressions of the budget setting meeting

Changes to Council services
  • Reduction in highway maintenance levels and potholes.
  • Less maintenance of the borough’s parks.
  • The park ranger service will end.
  • The school crossing patrol service which currently serves 24 schools will be transferred to schools if they wish to pay for it.
  • Street cleaning levels will be reduced.
  • Christmas lights and decorations are to be stopped and businesses approached to fund town centre decorations.
  • Three out of four Public toilets are to close with the council instead promoting its ‘Community Toilet Scheme’

As a result of making these cuts and changes in services Lambeth has been able to protect services including
  • 22 PCSOs who are directly funded by the council and provide support to Safer Neighbourhood Teams
  • Front line Children’s Social Care Services - protecting Lambeth’s most vulnerable children and young people from harm.
  • Services to children with special needs and disabilities.
  • Early Intervention – services working with families needing support to keep children and young people safe.
  • Adult Social Care.
  • All council run day centres for vulnerable people.
  • The anti-social behaviour rapid response team will continue.
  • Services to victims of domestic violence.
  • Weekly refuse collections will continue.