On Wednesday at the Town Hall, Labour's Budget for 2010/11 was agreed by the Council.
The good news is that council tax will be frozen for the fifth year in a row. Hackney's council tax is now below the London average and is the only council in the country to have five years in a row with no rise in council tax.
By running the Council more efficiently Hackney has made savings of more than £40 million during the past five years, the highest amount in London according to recent Government figures, and the third highest in the country. This has allowed consistent investment in those services that matter most to residents - with no cuts to frontline services.
During a lively Full Council meeting where the budget was debated, we also confirmed that there will be investment in the following areas:
- £66m on keeping our streets clean, waste and recycling services - including specific investment in improving recycling on estates with new containers which will allow residents to recycle a wider range of materials and extra investment into graffiti removal, and weekday litter picking
- £25m on safer neighbourhoods - working with partners to reduce crime and anti social behaviour across the borough
- £5.2m on parks and green spaces - to build on our record of 9 green flag parks across Hackney. We will also be refurbishing toilets in all our parks.
- £72m on children and young people's services - as well as £5m from the Myplace project which will bring new state of the art youth centres across the borough
- £186.7m on education - with £170m over the next five years going into the next phases of the Building Schools for the Future programme
- Investment in adult social care to provide an additional 5000 hours of homecare to support vulnerable residents in Hackney in their own homes
- £500k into a new library in Dalston
- Further investment in cycle training programmes, road safety improvements, car clubs, electric charging points and street decluttering
There have been some misleading reports in a local free newspaper about budget cuts - we'd like to reassure you that this is not the case - these are different economic times, but due to managing the Council's finances well, we're able to freeze council tax and continue to invest in key services.