Westminster City Council’s proposed budget for 2020/21 will prioritise building new homes and tackling climate change.
This week the council's cabinet earmarked an initial £5m for environmental projects to help the council progress towards its ambitious target of becoming carbon neutral by 2040.
The council is already expected to exceed its target of building 1,850 new affordable homes by 2023 but the new draft budget signals the authority’s ongoing commitment to create more homes for hard working families in the city over the next decade.
Pressure on budgets means that the council will also need to continue saving money and the draft budget keeps the council on track to deliver £36.2m of savings by 2022/23 while continuing to provide the highest standard services.
The authority is also proposing to raise council tax by 1.43 per cent (just an extra £6.20 per year for a band D council tax payer) and the adult social care precept by 2 per cent. This increase falls in line with most local authorities and Westminster continues to offer amongst the lowest band D council tax in the country.
However, the council is calling on government to urgently review the council tax framework - specifically asking for the creation of more council tax bands to give council’s greater flexibility on how to raise money locally to protect those on low incomes.
Cllr Melvyn Caplan, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Property and Regeneration, said:
“Building homes and confronting climate change are the big challenges of our time and our budget reflects that.
“In Westminster we have a track record of providing high quality services while offering value for money for our residents. This will continue.
“However we’re urging the Treasury to work with councils to fundamentally review the way we fund local government and give local authorities like ours extra powers to raise money locally so that we can continue provide local services to the standards our residents deserve. We’re not asking for more money from the government, just for more freedom to control our own resources.”
The full papers are available here.