Cambridge Labour delivering on election manifesto pledges in upcoming Budget
Ahead of the annual Cambridge City Council annual budget meeting which will take place this week, Labour Leader Councillor Anna Smith has affirmed Labour’s commitment to delivering on its key election manifesto pledges in the budget whilst also meeting the significant financial challenges facing Cambridge City Council in the years ahead.
The budget meeting which will take place on Thursday 24th February focuses on the policy priorities for the Council and its 2022-27 Corporate Plan.
Councillor Anna Smith explains:
“Our Labour run council is committed to meeting the needs of Cambridge residents in ensuring high quality delivery of our core services whilst also fulfilling our Labour manifesto pledges to reduce poverty and inequality, tackle the climate and biodiversity emergency and deliver sustainable and affordable housing. For example, in relation to our work tackling the climate and biodiversity emergency, this year’s budget proposes a new £60,000 fund towards employing a Home Retrofit Coordinator to support retrofit activity across all housing tenures and to improve energy efficiency standards in the private sector, funding for our herbicide reduction work, and nearly a million pounds towards our plan to replace of our petrol waste vehicles with electric ones.”
She further added:
“Alongside our new projects, we are also maintaining our existing support including our significant funding of more than £1.5 Million to the community and voluntary sector in seeking to address poverty and inequality and tackle homelessness, as well as our ambitious council housing building programme. This is despite the incredibly difficult circumstances which are facing us as a council.”
Councillor Smith explained some of these challenges:
“Government funding for local authorities is scarce and unpredictable. This is the second year running where there has been no increase in core spending power granted to the council by central government. In effect, this has led to a real terms cut in our funding. These government cuts leave councils and residents to pick up the bill. On top of this, the pandemic has led to serious social and economic costs since March 2020, the effects of which will be felt by all for many years to come. But we are determined to rise to these challenges and ensure ‘One Cambridge, Fair for all’.”
Councillor Mike Davey, Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources also commented:
“For a few years now, the lack of predictable government funding, including cuts to our core grants, has been a big problem. For example, despite promises from central Government in March 2020, that local authorities would not lose out financially in relation to supporting residents during the covid pandemic, the council has still been left £7.2m short.”
“There is significant uncertainty as to the quantum and form of local government funding in the future, meaning longer term planning becomes increasingly uncertain. The budget is an essential programme of work to ensure our council is adapting to the challenges that face us, while putting our residents at the heart of the work we do. Sound and prudent financial management is therefore essential, and is a key part of this year’s budget.”
One of the key ways that this will be achieved is though the proposed Council’s Transformation Programme – ‘Our Cambridge’, which Councillor Davey explains:
“The transformation programme is being designed to modernise the council, making it fit for purpose to lead a greener city that is fair for all. Working closely with the County Council and Combined Authority allows collaborative working to improve services to residents across Cambridge. Early indications are that the programme is forecast to deliver recurring net income growth and revenue savings of £4.7 million by 2025/6. This will secure our financial position longer term and ensure that we are meeting the needs of our residents most effectively, without compromising on our Labour values .”