Hackney residents will pay at least £68 more for their council tax this year to support £355.4m council expenditure on areas such improving school environments and social care for the vulnerable. Sharon Kam explains where the money is being spent.
The Hackney Council Budget for 23/24. agreed last week confirmed a 4.99 per cent increase in council tax – made up of 2 per cent for social care and 2.99 per cent for all services across the borough – for the next financial year.
Philip Glanville, the Mayor of Hackney, suggested the increase in council tax will help raise £5m for running “the vital services upon which we all rely” and was “absolutely necessary”.
The new council tax range from £1,182.2 for Band A properties to £3,546.58 for Band H properties. The differences between the council tax for last year and this year also range from £68.14 to £204.4.
The council has also agreed on the expenditure budget for this year – a net total of £355.4m will be spent in eight areas for the borough’s developments after deducting the £239.1m Dedicated School Grant and £8m Housing Revenue Account recharge.
The predominant part of the budget – £261.1m – goes to education across the borough, where £239.1m is funded by the Dedicated Schools Grant. The council aims to use the budget for improving school services so that all schools across the borough can be graded as ‘Good’ or better as soon as possible.
The money also goes to the Education & Health Care Plans (EHCP) which help to ensure students can get the support and education they need in both mainstream and specialist schools. A range of early years services will also be provided across the borough.
Adult services in Hackney is the second largest area that the budget goes to, where £85.4m is allocated to provide services like planning and paying for individual packages of care for vulnerable adults in the borough, such as people with learning disabilities, mental health conditions, physical disabilities, etc.
£58.8m is allocated to focus on providing better child protection, family supports, delivering a Domestic Abuse Intervention Service and more youth services across the borough. A majority of this budget will be spent on staffing, such as social workers and other practitioners.
Finance & resources
The £55.3m budget targets providing both front-line services and support services related to finance and resources to Hackney residents. Front-line services include housing benefit services, managing housing allocations and more; Support services include Finance, ICT, HR and Property Services that support the Council’s functioning through managing the Council’s finances, ICT networks, delivering capital projects and more.
The Council’s £36.3m spending on public health will be in accordance with the ring-fenced Public Health Grant from the government, which limits the money can only be used for the public health functions of the borough. Various services like substance misuse services and the community champions programme will be funded by the budget.
£20.7m will be spent on running legal and governance services for the Council, culture services, Business Intelligence, Elections and Member Services, and more.
Climate, Homes and Economy
The Council will use the £18.7m budget to deliver a variety of front-line services, including developing and implementing the Council’s Local Plan, carrying out an integrated Adult Education and Hackney Works team, managing and maintaining local parks and roads, etc.
The remaining £66.2m is allocated to cover the Council’s general finance, including day-to-day expenditures, and Revenue Contribution to Capital Outlay – responsible for making sure the Council has adequate and effective financial arrangements and accounting.