A Better budget: A more efficient council and better local services
Residents across Kingston will see their council tax frozen for the next financial year after kingston Conservatives passed their budget at this year’s Budget Council meeting.
Ever since Kingston has existed as a borough, it has been reliant on a government grant to fund its services, as is the case in most boroughs. Yet despite warning signs that this was rapidly decreasing, previous administrations failed to act and used council tax increases to plug the gaps.
In 2018/19, Kingston’s government grant is set to disappear and we will have to find our funding for essential services elsewhere. This presents us with an opportunity to find new ways of delivering local services and more innovative ways of raising money.
One of the new ways of raising money that Kingson will be partaking in, is the new London wide Business Rates Retention scheme. The scheme was initially pushed for by Cllr Kevin Davis who through discussions with the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer fought for the scheme which will now see London Boroughs forego the final year of grant funding in favour of retaining 100% business rate growth.
As an administration we have also reviewed all the major areas of spend through our No Stone Unturned programme (NSU). The programme was set up to identify inefficiencies and where realistic savings could be made whilst also looking at long term solutions to our financial situation and how we can increase our revenue base and commercialism whilst smartly investing in local services.
Because of programmes like the NSU and the work we have undertaken to significantly improve our local finances, we have been able to deliver significant improvements to local services since being elected in 2014:
- We invested £500,000 into the borough’s libraries, modernising and updating them when others would not
- Open two new schools with more planned for the future, helping local families and ending the Lib Dem school places crisis
- Invest £147,000 to improve the athletics facilities at the Kingsmeadow thereby providing better leisure facilities
- Invest in 12 extra police officers helping to keep residents safe and Kingston the safest Borough in London
Cllr David Glasspool, Treasury portfolio holder said,
Since 2014 our budgets have been under pressure but we’ve still managed to improve local services. Residents across Kingston now have access to better libraries, leisure facilities and more schools. All of this is down to the hard work of local conservatives improving our finances whilst still delivering high quality local services.