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Islington faces tough choices as more Government cuts loom

Islington Council estimates that it will have to make further savings of about £70 million in response to Government budget cuts announced yesterday, piling yet more pressure on essential local services.

The Government's 2015 Spending Review set out major cuts to local authority funding over the next four years.

From the figures available so far, the council estimates that it will have to make savings of about £70 million over the next four years because of Government cuts, rising demand for services and inflation.

National government has already cut its funding to Islington Council in half since 2010.  The expected further savings of about £70 million are on top of £150 million the council has already saved since then.

Cllr Andy Hull, Islington Council's executive member for finance, said: "This is yet another swing of the government's axe that piles extra pressure on local services on which Islington residents rely.
 
"We estimate yesterday's announcement means we will have to make savings of about £70 million over four years, on top of the £150 million we've already saved since 2010.

"We've already made massive efficiency savings and will continue to work more efficiently wherever we can.

"But these ongoing Government cuts are putting real pressure on Islington, and we face tough choices about the services that really matter to our residents."

Among the changes Islington Council is making in response to the ongoing government cuts is a move to communal kitchen and garden waste recycling collection, instead of individual doorstep collections.

Following a successful pilot over the summer, where communal bins were placed across Tollington ward for people to recycle kitchen and garden waste, similar changes will be made across the borough.

The changes next year will cut the number of recycling vehicles needed to make collections and save approximately £1 million a year.

Since 2010 Islington has also saved money by making better use of its buildings to cut costs, and by processing more transactions online.  An online transaction costs roughly 32p compared to £7.40 in person.

Islington is also sharing more services with other councils to cut costs, and is working to establish a shared Information and Communications Technology service with Camden Council, which could save each council £2 million a year.

The borough has also set up iCo – a trading company that aims to raise income for council services by selling services such as commercial waste to the public and private sectors.

Residents can ask council leader Cllr Richard Watts about the tough choices Islington faces as a result of government cuts at next week’s Leader’s Question Time.

The session will take place between 7-9pm on Tuesday 1 December at Central Library, Fieldway Crescent, N5 1PF.  Its focus is tough choices and the council's budget, but questions can be asked on other topics as well.

For more on the cuts facing Islington see http://toughchoices.islington.gov.uk/