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Camden responds to Government’s Spending Review

Camden has outlined its response to the Government’s Spending Review after the Chancellor delivered his statement to Parliament earlier today.

The Government confirmed that it remains committed to reducing public spending and that local government will be expected to play its part, meaning Camden will continue to face budget reductions and further savings will be required beyond the end of our current £75 million budget reduction programme to 2017/18.

In addition, a number of new policies announced today are likely to have an impact on the Borough, however the full financial impact of these will not be known until further details emerge in the coming weeks and months.

These include how local authorities will be able to retain 100% of business rates and an overhaul of schools funding, which could have a considerable adverse impact on funding in Camden.

The Council has published a full briefing on what the proposals mean for the borough. This can be found here.

Leader of the Council, Sarah Hayward, said: “Although it is still too early to understand the full impact of today’s announcement, we know there is not a lot of good news for our borough.

“In our response to the Spending Review consultation in September, we laid out a number of sensible suggestions to the Government to reduce the unfair burden on local services, but Camden is still to be placed under huge financial pressure.

“But, despite reducing our budget by many millions of pounds, we are being left with little breathing space. It is clear that Government is still failing to understand the impact that further burdens could have on residents, including vulnerable people.”

Camden has already saved £93 million between 2011/12 and 2014/15 and now has a further programme in place to deliver £75 million of savings by 2017/18.

We expect that by 2017/18 the authority’s funding from Government will have been cut in half and Camden will have reduced its budget by more than £168 million: the equivalent of a whole year’s spending on adult social care (incl. mental health) at £99 million, homelessness at £33 million and waste services at £36 million.

The Spending Review today follow news that councils’ public health grants are to be cut within the financial year, with Camden’s being reduced by £1.7 million (6.2% of the budget) by the end of March 2016.

In addition, Government has announce that councils must reduce social housing rents by 1%, leaving a £69 million hole in the Camden’s ring-fenced Housing Revenue Account (HRA) budget by 2019/20 This will threaten the authority’s ability to carry out planned enhancement and repair work.