Monday March 9, 2015
As the spring nights get lighter, people seem to take on a new lease of life with renewed energy and enthusiasm. Hopefully, the same can be said for Brent now that two major documents have been agreed.
Last year we at Partners for Brent carried out one of the largest consultations ever seen in our borough where we listened to thousands of people about what matters most to them.
Although we are facing significant reductions to our budgets, we still want the best for the people of Brent and want an ambitious plan for the future of our borough.
The Borough Plan was agreed last week and is based on what you told us were your priorities. It sets out what we intend to achieve over the next four years and how we will go about building a better Brent together. It’s led by the council working with our partners across Brent.
We want Brent to be a better place to live and work by doing things differently, working together and ensuring equality and fairness.
We will have to find new ways of doing things, stop doing some things altogether to enable us to concentrate on others and work much more in partnership with you and other organisations which will mean that you, the people who work and live in the borough, also doing your bit to help.
Much of this will mean doing things that you already do, such as helping to keep the streets clean and litter free, recycling, using cars less, being considerate to neighbours, helping out when people are in need, parking sensibly and reporting antisocial behaviour.
Read the Borough Plan to find out more.
The council has also been affected by reductions in central government funding and we’ve had to identify savings of £54million over the next two years. Based on what you told us, council services for Brent’s young and vulnerable people have been saved but some services will be changing or closing altogether.
Last week councillors pored over the details of where savings will be found and new income streams created at the annual budget meeting.
Despite the challenging financial position, local children’s centres, youth services and the New Millennium Day Centre have been saved as are rough sleeping services, CCTV services and the Brent Connexions careers advice service for young people.
We’ve also managed to freeze the Brent element of Council Tax for the sixth year in a row and became the first council in the country to offer local firms discounts of up to £5,000 on their business rates if they pay their employees the Living Wage.
Despite this good news, the way many local services are delivered will be changing so it’s more important than ever that we find new, low cost ways, of keeping residents up to date.
If you do not already receive our new weekly e-newsletter, I encourage you to sign up. ‘YourBrent’, will arrive straight into your inbox with the latest news about services in Brent.
Using online services gives you the information you want and helps us to keep costs low to ensure every pound we spend is being stretched as far as possible.
You’re now also able to register to vote online. The new online registration process means it’s no more difficult to register to vote than to do your shopping online; it’s a secure and convenient way of registering and takes as little as three minutes. The deadline for registering to vote in the 2015 General Election is midnight on Monday 20 April.
Spring is a time for looking forward and I truly believe we can all work together to make our Brent even better.
Councillor Muhammed Butt,
Leader of Brent Council