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Council agrees approach to tackling financial pressures

Members of the Policy and Resources Committee last night (Monday, 11 June 2018) discussed and agreed the approach that Barnet Council should take to help tackle the ongoing financial pressures that it faces.

The recommendations put forward will help Barnet Council take a proactive approach to address an estimated budget gap of £62 million between now and 2024.

Financial challenges continue to be faced by local authorities across the country. Barnet Council has a budget gap of £10million in 2018/19, whilst a budget gap of £42million has also been identified by the end of the 2021/2022 financial year. Current calculations estimate this could rise to £62million by March 2024.

Barnet has the largest population of any London borough, with an increasing number of people in later life that require care. This means that demand on council services are at an all-time high, while the costs of social care continue to rise and funding has continued to decline. Despite these challenges, there are also potential opportunities to increase income, for example, through business rate retention and freedoms around generating revenue.

The plan to identify and tackle these savings has already started, with a priorities and spending review currently underway to look at where the council focuses limited resources to best effect. As part of this proactive approach, Barnet Council has identified several key areas to address the budget gap, including growth and development, managing demand, and efficiency and productivity.

The Leader of Barnet Council, Councillor Richard Cornelius, said: “We are absolutely determined to ensure the future prosperity of the borough, and that means taking a rigorous approach to managing council finances. This will put us in a better position to meet this year’s budget pressures and to effectively plan for the years ahead.

“We have to ensure that everything we spend is an efficient and effective use of resources, and be certain that any money spent is delivering value for money to our residents. That may mean making some tough decisions in the years ahead.

“We will be asking for residents’ views on priorities to make sure that we are targeting our resources in the right areas.”

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