After months of consultation with local residents across the borough, the council’s budget for 2016/17 was agreed last week. We have been able to freeze council tax bills for six years now while, at the same time, cutting council spending by £117 million as our government funding fell year after year.
I would say yes. Looking after our most vulnerable children and elderly residents, making sure the bins are collected and maintaining our parks and roads are what we expect our council to deliver, along with many other important services.
Unlike when I went to school in Brent, where you send your children might now be a community school, a voluntary aided faith school, a foundation school, an academy or a free school. The main thing most mums and dads are interested in is a high quality of learning – and no school type has a monopoly on delivering that.
With Christmas almost upon us I have been reflecting on what the festive season actual means – it is easy to get caught up hauling the trolley around the supermarket or rushing to get the last gifts to put under the Christmas tree.
Here in Brent Council we are having to cope with a halving of central government funding. With my colleagues, we are working hard to keep the negative impact on the services you value the most to a minimum by squeezing the most out of every last penny of taxpayers’ money. However these tough times are forcing us to face some difficult choices.