Waltham Forest Council’s budget wins cross-party praise

Waltham Forest council has formally agreed its £395 million budget for subsequent yr after it was praised even by the chief of the opposition.

After freezing pay for council workers and utilizing £400,000 from its reserves, the council has balanced its budget for subsequent yr, avoiding the necessity for lay-offs.

However, Conservative chief Cllr Alan Siggers (Valley) argued not sufficient cash had been allotted for homelessness, given the doubtless ongoing results of the pandemic.

Read extra: Covid deaths in east London hospitals fall three weeks in a row

Council chief Cllr Clare Coghill mentioned the council had “stepped up because the fourth emergency service” throughout lockdown however that this had come “at an enormous value to the council”.

At a gathering of full council on February 25, she mentioned: “While the Government has provided some further funding, it has not coated the complete value, which they mentioned must be coated by elevated council tax.

“Covid-19 value round £40 million and we now have acquired about £28 million. It is just by sound monetary administration over the previous decade that we now have been in a position to climate this.

“(Raising council tax) isn’t a call we take calmly however we should safeguard the important providers we offer.

“A 3rd of our working age inhabitants are actually in receipt of some form of employment assist however these schemes are winding down and the eviction ban is ending.

“We have put aside £6 million, on high of the Government grant, to assist our residents by this.”

She additionally highlighted the almost 3,000 laptops offered to native kids for distant studying, 157 tough sleepers taken off the streets and greater than 1,000 home abuse survivors supported for the reason that begin of the pandemic.

Read extra: Council to spend over £1m and eight years rebuilding Leytonstone property

Cllr Siggers agreed that the council had proven “glorious monetary stewardship” and that it was, total, “an excellent budget”.

He mentioned: “Council tax has remained, broadly talking, inside the identical space as the speed of inflation and that’s no imply feat.

“But I’m very involved about how we now have approached our homeless budgeting.

“Right now, as we communicate, there are lots of people in private-rented and council lodging who should not paying their lease and are increase debt.

“There’s going to return a degree at which the Government says we are able to’t maintain the ban on evictions indefinitely.

“I believe we’re going to see an actual strain on that homeless budget and I believe we ought to be arguing for extra money in that individual space.”

The budget for subsequent yr allocates £700,000 in direction of sheltered lodging and hostels and greater than £25 million on constructing new council properties.

The budget was authorised by the vast majority of councillors on the assembly and can come into impact on April 5.

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