Brent Council is grappling with financial challenges, driven by persistent high inflation, escalating service demands, and diminishing government funding since 2010. According to London Councils, an estimated 90% of London boroughs are anticipated to exceed their budgets this year.
The borough of Brent is not exempt from these pressures, facing an escalating adult social care bill due to an aging population and surging homelessness rates, with approximately 150 new families presenting as homeless each week. In addition to the £210 million in cuts made since 2010, the council must save an additional £8 million between 2024-25 and 2025-26.
To navigate these financial constraints, the council has formulated several budget proposals, aiming to safeguard essential services and maintain the organization’s financial stability. Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, emphasised the severity of the situation, citing a decade of austerity and the unprecedented £400 million funding shortfall faced by London councils this year alone.
Cllr Butt stated, “Over a decade of austerity and rapidly rising demand for the services we provide has pushed council finances to the brink.
“Councils in London face a £400m shortfall in funding this year alone. This means balancing our budget will be the hardest it has ever been. “Brent Council has successfully balanced our budget with £210m of cuts over the last 13 years – but we are running out of options.
“In the last year, Brent increased the supply of new homes more than anywhere else in the country. Yet this supply cannot keep pace with the tsunami of demand, with hundreds of new families facing homelessness each week.
“Our draft budget proposals for next year aim to ensure every penny is spent safeguarding the borough’s most vital services and securing financial stability for the years to come. There are some tough choices to make and the road ahead will not be easy. “Please take part in the consultation and help us get this right.”
The draft budget proposals include a 4.99% increase in council tax, with 2% specifically allocated for adult social care. The council aims to alleviate the burden on struggling families by continuing to invest in the Council Tax Support Scheme, providing £32 million in support to over 26,000 households.
Residents can review the draft budget proposals and share their opinions on the council’s website: Brent Council Budget Consultation.