Since 2010, the council has seen two thirds of its core budget cut by central government, at the same time as requiring in law every local authority to set a balanced budget. We have had to take many difficult decisions, always protecting those who are most vulnerable.
The last few decades have seen a huge shift in the delivery of public services to the private sector. Too much of this is done at high costs and low quality. Whether in social housing, recycling or adult social care, we are already seeing private companies handing back contracts or going under, with local government having to step in and pick up the pieces.
Our borough is growing older, and families continue to face huge pressures, with breakdowns and homelessness on the rise. The increasing need of the most vulnerable in our borough must be met, which means we spend the overwhelming majority of our resources supporting those who need support.
Whilst over two thirds of our borough voted to remain within the EU, Brexit has now happened. As a consequence, Ealing like the rest of the country is facing serious challenges over the shortage of goods and services, with the full impact still yet to be fully understood.
The pandemic has been the most challenging situation in generations. It has hit our communities hard, and particularly in West London where we have some of the highest rates of unemployment and low incomes. The economic and emotional recovery from the pandemic still continues and will be with us for years to come.
The events of 4,000 miles away in Minnesota brought new focus on brutality and violence directed toward Black, Asian and other Minority Ethnic communities. But structural inequality and racism are far from new, and have long been with us. We know where the largest inequalities exist in our borough and we cannot wait to take meaningful action to end them.
Global temperatures continue to climb, poor air quality continues to kill and London is seeing an increasing number of extreme weather events. With global events having extremely local consequences, sustaining our environment and our economy is now more urgent than ever before.