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Council tax frozen but hard choices ahead as years of cuts bite into council budget

Lambeth councillors will discuss plans to reduce costs and retain services at a meeting next week, urging local people to play their part in saving money.

The council is facing one of the most challenging budgets in its history and has to find savings of £96m over the next three years.

Successive years of cuts to the funding it gets from Government mean that by 2016, the council will have half what it had in 2010 to spend on services that range from street cleaning to the care of children and vulnerable people.

The council has identified savings of £25.4m for 2014/15. Cllr Lib Peck, council leader, said:  “It’s been very challenging to find £25.4m savings but we’ve continued to prioritise spending that residents care most about – clean streets, good refuse and recycling, leisure centres and parks, as well as ensuring that we continue to help our most vulnerable people. We know that many residents are struggling with the high cost of living so we have committed to freezing council tax for the sixth year running”.

“But with 50% less than we had in 2010 it’s going to get much tougher. Just like every household and business, we’ve got to balance the books and that will mean increasingly difficult choices.  We will prioritise getting investment and jobs into the borough especially for young people; and we will work with residents and businesses in an open and honest way to decide where and how to prioritise the services we all rely on”.

The £25.4 million savings are in the revenue budget for 2014-15. In addition, the budget commitments the council to spending £194m on capital projects. This includes record investment in roads and pavements, improving and expanding schools and delivering the Lambeth Housing Standard (£450 million over 4 years).

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