Job losses, a council tax rise, recycling cuts and increased parking charges among Islington’s budget proposals
PUBLISHED: 16:56 07 January 2015
A rise in council tax, more than 200 job losses, an increase in parking charges and reduced recycling are on the table as the town hall attempts to deal with another £37million in cuts.
But front line services have once again been protected despite Islington Council having half the cash per year - about £150million - it had before the 2010 general election.
According to a pre-budget report released today (Wednesday), from April council tax will go up by 1.99 per cent - or £20 a year - which is the most the town hall can raise it without a referendum. This is eventually expected to bring in £1.2million a year.
A total of 211 redundancies, mainly in senior management and predominantly in the finance department, are set to take place, although the council hopes at least half of these can be made by cutting vacant posts or voluntary redundances.
The number of recycling lorries will be cut in half and kitchen and green recycling will no longer be taken from people’s doorsteps, saving an estimated £2million.
And for drivers, parking charges look set to go up in some areas, and diesel vehicles, expect those used for business like taxis or vans, will be subject to a £95 a year charge - neither of these increases will be used to generate revenue.
Cllr Richard Watts, leader of Islington Coucnil, said: “We have managed, for now, to safeguard all our libraries, leisure centres, swimming pools and children’s centres as well as crucial services like school crossing patrols and adult social care.
“My fear is that we will not be able to sustain these vital services if government cuts continue on this scale.”
Other money-saving schemes include keeping some parks open all night, reducing each ward’s local initiatives fund, reducing the Antisocial behaviour team and restructuring sexual health services.
Cllr Andy Hull, Islington Council’s executive member for finance, said: “We have not increased council tax for five years in Islington, meaning it is lower here than in neighbouring boroughs. Now though, in order to protect important services that support some of the most vulnerable in our community, we are proposing an increase in council tax of just 40p a week for the average Islington property, still keeping it well below council tax in most of London.”
The council is also setting up a business arm - iCo - in order to sell services to other boroughs, such as advice on how to set up their own Bunhill type power station.