Kensington and Chelsea Council has voted to approve its budget, with Grenfell recovery remaining a top priority. This follows last year’s decision to spend £50 million on Grenfell recovery over five years from 2019/20. This is front-loaded, meaning £12 million spent last year will be matched again in 2020/21.
The Council is expected to invest £714 million in roads, infrastructure, environment and buildings in the next three years, including:
- £259 million towards building new homes and building more temporary accommodation
- £197 million towards renovation and refurbishment of current council housing
- £36.5 million for Barlby School – the borough’s first school dedicated entirely to supporting children with special education needs. Ahead of the budget being approved, Council Leader Cllr Elizabeth Campbell was joined by Cllr David Lindsay, Lead Member for Families and Children, and Anthony Mannix, Headteacher of the neighbouring Barlby Primary School, for a tour of the school's construction site off Barlby Road, North Kensington
- £20 million to invest in our highways, streets and parks
- £20 million to invest in Council buildings for the long term, including making them more energy efficient
- £13 million for more secondary school places and investment in three of the borough’s primary schools
- £6.2 million for day care services to help tackle loneliness and support people to remain independent for longer
- £7.1 million to support and improve our six children’s centres
The local government settlement for Kensington and Chelsea is expected to reduce by £40 million over three years.
Cllr Mary Weale, Lead Member for Finance, said: “I am delighted that we have managed to set a balanced budget for 2020/21 whilst keeping our Council tax rates in the lowest 25 per cent nationally.
“This is not to say that the next two years will not be challenging. We will have to find £25m over the next two years, with longer term uncertainty including the fair funding review and adults social care funding prohibiting our ability to plan ahead.
“This is why it is important to take a strategic approach to how we spend our money, aligning spend against the 5 Council Plan priorities. We must continue to have the resources to invest in vital services such as our OFSTED excellent children’s services, schools and homes.”
The Council approved a Council Tax increase of 1.99 per cent for 2020/21 plus an additional 2 per cent increase in respect of the adult social care precept – a total increase in Council Tax of 3.90 per cent including Garden Squares and 3.99 per cent excluding garden squares. The increase takes into account the Council’s ambition to minimise the call on taxpayers and ensures the authority continues to have a Council Tax rate within the lowest quartile.
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The Council has moved away from a traditional salami slicing approach and instead in line with the value of putting communities first, has adopted an approach that aligns spending plans to the priorities in the Council Plan and ensures making the most of the income received and spending in the right places.