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The budget approved by the full meeting of Enfield Council on 24th February includes an increase in Council Tax of 1.99 per cent.  However, because of a reduction in the contribution to the Greater London Authority the effective increase will be smaller - 1.78 per cent.

The paperwork for the budget debate is available at this link.  This describes the background to the budget and medium-term financial plan and the cuts which will be made to various council services.  To access all the paperwork for the meeting, use this link.

The document pack also includes a report on the budget consultation exercise, which this year attracted a particularly high rate of response - 3,334 in total.  The report begins on page 43 of the document pack and includes the following brief summary:

Budget Consultation – 2016/17 Summary Conclusions

  • Majority support for Council Tax increase
  • Support for introduction and/or increase in charges for some services
  • Priority services: Refuse collection, Adult social services, road maintenance and street cleansing
  • Priorities for reduction: Theatres, Museums and galleries, sports activities and car parks.
  • Focus groups clearly highlighted concern over implementation and protecting vulnerable groups.

After the meeting Enfield Council issued the following announcement;

Enfield Council sets budget

Published on: 25 February 2016

Enfield Council last night (24 February)  agreed to an overall 1.78 percent increase in Council Tax bills for 16/17 as a result of a package of measures designed to protect services against a backdrop of significant reductions in Government funding.

These measures include an initial 1.99 percent increase in Council Tax for the first time in seven years to help protect vital services and a ring fenced Social Care precept of 2% to help protect adult social care funding in Enfield.  

However, the overall increase in the Council Tax bill will be 1.78 per cent as a result of reductions in the Greater London Authority element of the Council Tax. An average Band D property will pay £1,420.17 in 2016/17.

Enfield Council has had to save £118 million since 2010 because of reductions in funding from central government – 49% in real terms - and increased pressures on services, and needs to make a further £56 million of savings by 2019/20 following the 2015 Spending Review, as funding continues to shrink.  

Cllr Doug Taylor, Leader of Enfield Council said, “The scale of the savings we have already had to deliver means that efficiencies are no longer enough and further savings will affect Council services across the board.  The £56 million we need to find is more than we currently spend annually on cleaning the streets, collecting the bins and lighting our streets.

“We will continue to listen to your views and priorities when making these difficult decisions on funding reductions and what actions to take to best protect the vital services you rely on.”

An unprecedented response to the recent consultation on priority services and Council tax levels saw over 3,300 people taking part, with a majority (57 per cent) agreeing that Council Tax should be raised to protect services.

Cllr Taylor continued, “Over the last few years we have largely managed to protect residents from the worst impact of funding reductions as a result of maximising opportunities from new ways of working, and our ambitious and innovative Enfield 2017 transformation programme which has streamlined ways of working and ensured we make the smartest possible use of our budgets, buildings and staff.

“We pledge to continue to find new and innovative ways of providing services to minimise the cost burden on residents as much as we can. This year we have made the difficult decision to raise Council Tax and hope you accept that the increase is a small price to pay, to protect the vital services that a huge number of people in this borough rely upon.

“I am proud of the improvements we are making for a better Enfield, despite the annual funding we receive from central Government having been cut by an average of £700 for every household in the borough in the last five years.  

“We have opened some superb new community facilities such as the Ordnance Unity Centre in Enfield Lock which includes a library, GP surgery and community hall, and the refurbished and transformed Palmers Green Library.  

“At the same time we continue to provide high quality services which are recognised nationally through numerous awards successes such as the gold Clean Britain award in recognition of our excellent work keeping our streets clean, and the our retention of 8 Green Flags for our excellent parks.

“We also continue to invest in the future of Enfield and have provided an additional 1,470 new primary school places over the last few years and driven forward major regeneration projects such as Meridian Water, the Alma Estate and Ladderswood”.

“Despite the challenges we face we are still hugely ambitious for the borough and are committed to creating a fairer Enfield which provides greater opportunity for all.”

Enfield’s population grew by an average of 4,200 per year between 2004 and 2014 further increasing demand and pressure on our services.

Enfield Council is also disadvantaged by millions of pounds each year by the way central government calculates our grant as a result of a process called damping – which takes funding away from some Councils despite it being assessed as needed.

There was an unprecedented response to the Council’s borough-wide budget consultation for 16/17 with over 3,300 responses:

Of those who expressed a clear preference 57% agreed that the Council should consider raising the Council tax in order to protect services -

Of those in agreement the average percentage increase considered reasonable was 4.67%

Of those who expressed a clear preference 55% agreed that the Council should look at introducing or increasing charges to prevent services being cut or reduced

Source:  new.enfield.gov.uk/news-and-events/enfield-council-sets-budget

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