Islington Council has today published its budget proposals for 2016/17 that will see an extra £500,000 spent on keeping the borough’s young people safe, despite further heavy government cuts to the council’s funding.
By 2020, the council will have had 70 per cent of its government funding cut since 2010. The council has pledged to spend its remaining money on Islington's most pressing priorities, especially a deeply disturbing upsurge in serious youth violence. Three teenagers were fatally stabbed in Islington in 2015.
As part of its budget proposals, the council plans to spend an extra £500,000 on additional targeted support for some of the young people most at risk of turning to gangs and crime. The money will be used to commission work from independent providers with a strong track record of helping turn around the lives of some of London's most hard-to-reach young people.
This could include commissioning charities with experienced case workers to focus on the hardest-to-reach young people, including using former gang members who have changed their lives and can now provide positive role models.
The council will also protect its existing budgets for youth work and maintain the Islington Bursary to help disadvantaged young people go to college.
Cllr Andy Hull, Islington Council's executive member for finance, said:
"The council faces further massive government cuts. We have already lost half of our government funding since 2010, and by 2020 we will have lost 70 per cent of our government funding in the space of a decade.
"Despite this, we are focusing our remaining resources on addressing Islington's most pressing priorities. Recent youth violence in the borough has shocked our community and must be tackled. We will spend an extra £500,000 on targeted support to help those most at risk of turning to gangs and crime.
“We are determined to keep our young people safe and give them opportunities to get on in life. So, at a time when many councils are being forced by the government to slash their spending on young people, we will protect it, as well as maintaining important local initiatives to help young people such as Islington's bursary scheme to support students to start and stay in further education."
Budget proposals to deal with government cuts include:
• reducing the council's general reserves from five per cent to four per cent of its budget to help ease the impact of the government's funding cuts which are particularly steep next year
• increasing council tax by 1.99 per cent to help pay for essential local services on which residents rely
• applying the Government's social care precept of 2.00 per cent on council tax to help pay for adult social care in Islington
• introducing a charge for bulky waste collections from street properties, in line with most other London boroughs.
The council also expects there will be in the region of 100 redundancies among its almost 4,500 staff as a result of the savings proposed for 2016/17, the vast majority of which will be voluntary, not compulsory.
The council's budget proposals can be seen at
http://democracy.islington.gov.uk/documents/s6746/Budget Proposals 2016-17 Executive January 2016.pdf