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Opinion: Have your say on ‘transformative’ budget

PUBLISHED: 08:30 18 January 2020

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz wants residents to have their say on the budget proposals.

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz wants residents to have their say on the budget proposals.

Andrew Baker

It’s only a couple of weeks into 2020 but we are speeding on with making sure we are delivering the manifesto pledges I made to residents. A big piece of work is Newham Council’s budget for the next three years, which is due to be set in March at full council.

I'm excited by our spending priorities and growth proposals which, if approved, stand to benefit all. We're proposing a transformative budget that will change lives for the better. It's about being fearless and laying the basis to address the economic, social and environmental inequalities that impact upon our communities. It will ensure all residents are approached in a way that's equal and fair.

In our proposals is growth spending of £10m in each of the three years for investment in new services or enhancing existing ones. The largest proposed new investment totals almost £4.5m per annum in services directly for young people to enhance their potential and keep them safe and protected. This builds on my commitment to ensure Newham becomes the best possible place for young people to grow up.

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Another priority is housing with £1.4m each year to improve services supporting rough sleepers and £400,000 each year to bring empty properties back into use.

Investment of £1m per year is also proposed to tackle the climate and health emergency. This is us putting our money where our mouth is in regard to the greatest threat facing humanity. It's about taking rapid action to improve air quality and deal with unacceptably high pollution.

We also have some difficult decisions. Government austerity means we have to make £45m savings and look to increase council tax. Whatever we decide, we will make sure every penny counts and that we've given full consideration to how what we decide will impact on residents.

The involvement of residents in the budget-setting process is crucial. Have your say at Budget Forums on January 22 at the Old Town Hall, Stratford; on January 29 at Canning Town Library; and on January 30 at East Ham Town Hall, all between 6.30pm and 9pm. Full budget proposals can be viewed at newham.gov.uk/budget


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