The London Borough of Harrow has officially launched its 2024/25 budget consultation, inviting residents to voice their opinions on the proposed draft budget for the upcoming year.
The consultation period, spanning five weeks, began yesterday, December 20, and will conclude on January 24, 2024.
The Draft Budget 2024/25, accessible through MyHarrow Talk, notes the significance of resident input in determining how services are delivered to the Harrow community.
Harrow Council manages a wide array of services catering to over 261,000 residents, ranging from statutory obligations to essential and important services, all aligned with their core priorities of putting residents first, maintaining a clean and safe borough, and supporting those in need.
The heart of the matter lies in financing these services, and the Council is reaching out to the community to gauge their opinions on the proposed budget.
Council Tax remains a crucial source of funding, constituting almost 80% of the day-to-day (revenue) budget for the upcoming year.
Reflecting on the current fiscal year, the Council highlighted the challenges posed by a 4.99% increase in Council Tax, generating an additional £7.8 million to allocate toward services.
However, the impact of inflation, particularly in Adult Services, and unexpected salary increases, led to an expenditure overrun, prompting the need for a ‘robust financial strategy’ for the future.
The consultation notes, “In Harrow we have one of the fastest growing aging populations compared to the rest of London. We are supporting an increasing number of adults with complex needs and have high levels of children with special educational needs – who may go on to need additional support to live independently as they become adults.
“While soaring levels of homelessness has pushed the bill for temporary accommodation by 30% to more than £4m this year.”
It continues, “Our draft budget for next year (2024/25) has been put together to ensure every pound is spent on services that put residents first, deliver a clean and safe borough and support those in need.”
Within the budget, the Council is contemplating a 4.99% increase in Council Tax for the upcoming year, with 2.99% dedicated to council services and an additional 2% ring-fenced for adult social care.
Acknowledging the potential financial strain on residents, the Council assures that this increase will result in a balanced budget, allowing for the completion of all necessary commitments over the year.
Residents are invited to provide their opinions on the budget through a comprehensive survey, available on the Draft Budget 2024/25 consultation page.