Newham’s draft budget proposes investment in youth services, housing and environment

Newham Council's draft budget for the next three years has been revealed. Picture: Ken Mears

Newham Council's draft budget for the next three years has been revealed. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Youth services, housing and the environment are among the areas set for Newham Council investment over the next three years.

But council tax could rise by 78p a week for Band D properties to accommodate this as the council battles to make £45million of savings by March 2023.

The draft budget for 2020/21 to 2022/23 features £4.5m for youth services, including £1.2m to double the number of youth zones in the borough from four to eight.

An additional £750,000 will be used to implement recommendations from the council's youth safety board.

The proposals - which will be subject to public consultation before being discussed by councillors in February - also include £1.4m per year to improve the services supporting rough sleepers and creating preventative services to reduce the risk of people becoming homeless.

A team to bring empty properties back into use is also proposed at a cost of £400,000 a year.

The draft budget also features a proposed £1m a year to improve the borough's air quality and tackle the climate emergency, including £500,000 for weekly recycling collections and enhanced recycling facilities.

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Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz said: "The key feature of this draft budget is about making the lives of Newham residents better.

"It's about being fearless and laying the basis to address the economic, social and environmental inequalities that continue to impact upon our communities.

"It sets down building blocks for the future and ensures we are able to weather any potential challenging times ahead."

The council has said that £36.2m of its required £45m savings have already been identified. An additional £9.6m could be raised through a council tax increase over the three years.

Despite the proposed increase, the council believes it will still be the lowest level in outer London. There are no changes planned to the council tax support scheme which provides a rebate to the most financially vulnerable.

Budget forums are taking place at the Old Town Hall, Stratford on January 22, Canning Town Library on January 29 and East Ham Town Hall on January 30, all between 6.30pm and 9pm.