View from the House: Tackling Havering's historic injustice
PUBLISHED: 08:00 21 January 2018
The London Borough of Havering have for decades paid more for our services than inner London areas who have received much larger grants from central government, compared to outer London areas.
This historic injustice has been going on for far too long, but at last our government is looking to introduce a new Fair Funding formula to ensure that Havering and other areas receive a fairer slice of the cake in future.
Before the new formula is introduced, we need a transition grant to ensure that Havering can maintain good local services, whilst at the same time keep council tax rises as low as possible.
This week, I arranged a meeting with Rishi Sunak MP, the new minister for local government, along with Julia Lopez MP and Cllr Roger Ramsey to address budget challenges faced by Havering.
I raised several urgent issues such as the impact for adult social care and the imperative to retain the transition grant for the borough. We also discussed the specific challenges to Havering such as the fact that we have the oldest population in London as a percentage of the overall population, but we remain one of the lowest funded boroughs.
The current system for local government funding is changing and by 2021 the government intends to move towards councils being self-sufficiently funded.
In the mean time I suggested that Havering’s adult social care plan should maximise all benefits from time limited grants such as the Better Care Fund (BCF) until a more sustainable funding system for long term planning is implemented. As outlined in the Queen’s speech last June, the government will be bringing in new proposals for the funding of adult social care.
I also insisted that long term financial planning of the council needs to reflect a rising population and increased costs for caring for people at home.