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Plans to invest £30 million to improve roads and pavements unveiled in Havering Council’s budget

PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 November 2018 | UPDATED: 08:49 21 November 2018

A savings target of £14.6 million has been set in 2019/20 towards the £37 million Havering Council is required to save over the next three years. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

A savings target of £14.6 million has been set in 2019/20 towards the £37 million Havering Council is required to save over the next three years. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Improved CCTV, major investments to improve road surfaces and increased council tax charges for empty properties are some of the proposals being made by Havering Council for next year’s budget.

In the 2019/20 budget, Havering Council is setting out proposals to spend £30 million over the next three years on resurfacing roads and pavements and fixing potholes, which is a significant increase on the current 2018/19 budget of £3.2 million.

Around £250,000 has also been earmarked to improve CCT to enhance community safety.

A combination of rising demand for services and reductions in government funding requires havering to save around £37 million over the next three years as part of the council’s contribution to reducing national debt.

In 2019/20 a savings target of £14.6 million has been set towards the £37 million.

The proposals include plans for those who claim unemployment or disability benefits, to pay more of their council tax by changing their discount from 85per cent to 75pc.

This will mean that those on unemployment and disability benefits will pay 25pc of their council tax instead of 15pc.

Councillor Damian White, leader of the council, said that the budget proposals, which will be discussed at next Thursday’s (November 29th) special Cabinet meeting, responds to the issues that matter to residents the most, following a budget consultation and Residents’ Survey.

“People told us that the quality of care and support for vulnerable people is incredibly important to them – we are protecting spend in that area,” said Cllr White.

“People told us that they are worried about the quality of roads and pavements – we are investing significantly to improve them.

“People told us that, even though we have less crime than most London boroughs, they are worried about safety after dark which is why we are planning to increase investment in better CCTV.

“People told us that the quality of refuse collection is important – we are one of a minority of councils to retain a weekly collection when most others have moved to a fortnightly collection.

“This is a council that listens to our residents and acts in their best interests.”

Increasing the council tax surcharge on properties that are empty for two years or more from 50pc of council tax to 100pc, is also included in the proposals.

It would mean that the owners of properties that have been empty for two years or more would pay double the amount of other council tax payers.

Cllr White added: “We need to save roughly a quarter of our budget over the next three years so we need to do things differently while facing some tough decisions.

“We are embracing this challenge while focusing all our energy on how we can make an already great place to live even better.

“Make no mistake, we are hugely ambitious for Havering which is why we are working with our community to make our award-winning parks even better and our streets even cleaner and safer.”

The budget proposals will be discussed at Havering Council’s Cabinet meeting on Thursday, November, 29 before final budget proposals, along with council tax levels, are agreed at Full Council on February 20, 2019.

Once the budget is set the council will consult with communities on any significant changes to individual services before final decisions are made.

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