Ealing Labour have been on the frontline against Tory austerity for almost a decade. I’m proud that despite relentless cuts to our funding, we've passed an ambitious budget for Ealing with significant investment in local public services. Cllr Bassam Mahfouz, Cabinet Member for Finance and Leisure
Ealing Labour have been on the frontline against Tory austerity for almost a decade. I’m proud that despite relentless cuts to our funding, we’ve passed an ambitious budget for Ealing with significant investment in local public services.
Ealing Labour’s budget this year demonstrates the difference a Labour council makes. With adequate funding from the government, we’d able to go even further in making Ealing one of the best places to live and work in London. To this end I’ve written to the new Chancellor Rishi Sunak MP with Ealing Council Leader Julian Bell to urge the Chancellor to prioritise local government in his upcoming budget.
The Tory government have cut a huge 64% from our core government grant since 2010 – that means we’ve lost the equivalent of 64p from every pound we used to receive.
This week we saw Tory councillors stand up in the council chamber and tell us that their mates in Westminster are increasing our funding, but they’re talking about a drop in the ocean. At the current rate of Tory government investment, it will take the Council over 22 years to get back to our 2010 funding position and that’s not even taking inflation into account!
As councillors we’ve supported local people in Ealing through some of their darkest days. We’ve seen food bank use skyrocket under successive Tory governments – the last 6 months of 2019 saw a 49% increase in the number of emergency food parcels issued by Ealing food bank, feeding more than 7,250 people. No one should have to resort to a food bank, but that is the reality of almost a decade of savage Tory cuts to benefits and public services.
We’re calling on the Chancellor to prioritise local government funding because we’ve seen the human impact of austerity. Last week, a new report identified that after ten years of Tory austerity, the poorest in our country now face shorter and less healthy lives. Our services are on the front line of helping reduce those gaps to help people lead longer, healthier, happier lives.
Against this awful backdrop of austerity, every council in the country is facing significant and increasing funding pressures around supporting young people with special educational needs and tackling the national care crisis.
But as a Labour council, we will always be ambitious for Ealing. We were elected by Ealing residents to lead our borough through Tory austerity, and we’re proud of what we’ve achieved with our creative approach to delivering services. That means better outcomes for Looked After Children, over £8m of savings through our new commercial hub without impacting on frontline services and all of Ealing’s libraries staying open, with five libraries becoming Community Managed.
Having been bold and creative in finding new ways to deliver services, I’m delighted that Ealing Labour are able to offer significant investment in this year’s budget.
We’re investing almost £5.5m in our recycling and street cleaning services, we’ve allocated over £5m to support our young people and those with disabilities as they become young adults, and put £5m into a road and pavement resurfacing programme across the coming year.
As a Labour council, it’s not just about how much we spend, but making sure every pound goes towards changing the borough for the better. That’s why this Ealing Labour budget will also make the borough a greener and fairer place to live and work.
We’re proud to continue to deliver on our ambitious pledges to local people. We’re now over halfway towards our target of building 2,500 genuinely affordable homes by 2022, we’ve delivered more than 400 of the 750 quality apprenticeship opportunities we pledged to create for local people, our electricity will come from 100% renewable sources later this year and more people in the borough will be paid the London Living Wage. We’re also introducing a fairer, more transparent and easier council tax reduction scheme to support those on lowest incomes across the borough.
I came into politics not to just produce a balanced budget, but to change the world for the better. I am proud that this budget will play its part in doing that, and to have voted for a Labour budget guided by our values. This is a Labour budget that will build more genuinely affordable homes, help fight the climate emergency, raise the bar with better paid jobs and support for the most vulnerable, whilst investing in the services that matter to local people. It’s a budget that will make a genuine contribution towards making Ealing one of the best places to live and work in London.