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Camden's financial challenge

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Our new Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS)

Since 2010, the government has significantly cut our funding so we’ve had to reduce our budget by around £200m. And at the same time, the government has significantly reduced other public sector budgets – including to the welfare system.

As a result, an increasing number of people are turning to us for help – and as the cost of living crisis deepens, we expect this to continue.

We have demonstrated time and time again that investing in local communities saves money and can save lives. For example, during the pandemic we spent millions of pounds to help keep residents safe. However, the government has continued to cut our funding.

Our new MTFS and continuing to invest in our communities

As a local council, more than half of our income comes directly from government funding so when this funding is cut, we have to make savings. That is why we’re having to reduce our budgets by between £35m and £40m over the next three years – a figure that could rise to £68m. Additionally, our Housing Revenue Account (HRA) has a budget gap of £8m to £12m as a result of government actions. Find out more about what we’re asking the government for to support our HRA below.

Our new Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) sets out initial savings proposals totalling £27.7m over the next three years, and we will do all we can to work with our communities on the proposals that will affect them. Read more here.

We want Camden to be a place where everyone has the chance to succeed and where no-one is left behind. That’s why we have done all we can to protect the services our residents rely on the most, protect our staff and enable us to continue to step in and support our most vulnerable residents and families. And we will continue to invest in the areas we know will have the greatest impact now and for future generations - including housing, schools and education, better customer services and digital access to services, and support with the cost of living crisis. This includes investing in:

  • Supporting residents facing extreme financial hardship via our £2m Cost Of Living Crisis Fund
  • Our Council Tax Support scheme, which reduces the amount that our residents on low incomes have to pay, putting money back into the pockets of our poorest residents
  • Our local voluntary and community organisations who are providing vital support to residents on a range of issues – including helping to tackle hunger and loneliness, and providing free advice on a range of issues
  • Providing early support to residents when they need it and preventing people’s problems getting worse and needing our help later on, which is more cost effective and provides better outcomes for our residents. That’s why we will continue to invest in youth services and children’s centres
  • Using our property assets to build new homes, including council homes, to make Camden a fairer place to live and reduce the impact of the housing crisis on our residents
  • Doing all we can locally to achieve our ambition of a zero-carbon Camden and tackle the climate emergency, which disproportionately impacts residents living in poverty

We are proud that so many of our services are among the best in the country and we will continue to strive to improve and transform services in the months and years ahead.

Alongside our partners and residents, we also consistently deliver our services well and within budget, and we have a strong track record of managing our finances. It’s because of this that we are able to make savings and continue to invest in helping those that need us the most - but this has been a challenge and we’ve had to make some difficult decisions along the way.

Our asks of Government

Despite everything we and our communities are doing to make sure every penny we spend has the greatest impact, we don’t know what our funding will be in the long-term and there is a real risk that there will be further cuts from the government. If this happens and without an increase in funding, we will have no choice but to make more difficult decisions.

To prevent us having to consider reducing budgets from the services our communities rely on, we are asking the government for the following:

  • We want the government to ensure that councils are full supported financially. In Camden, this means a funding increase of 22% over the next two years to fill the hole in our budget so that we can continue delivering all of our services without making budget cuts or increasing council tax. And in the long term, we need the government to enter into a discussion about a sustainable and long-term funding model for local councils and public services
  • We need the government to provide more funding to support residents through the cost of living crisis. This includes:
  • Doubling the Household Support Fund
  • Reintroducing the additional £20 per week in Universal Credit payments
  • We need the government to provide funding for our Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and work with us to change or introduce HRA policies so that we can build new homes, ensure building safety and help to tackle the climate emergency. Specifically, we are asking for:
  • £69 million in HRA funding to compensate us for the loss in funding since 2016, which continues to be reduced and will impact our ability to carry out repairs and accelerate our programme to build new homes, including council homes
  • Funding to enable us to expedite our plans to retrofit and upgrade all of our council homes to reduce their carbon output
  • Reducing interest rates on historic HRA debt so they’re in line with market rates
  • More flexibility around capital investment regulations
  • Provide ‘new burdens funding’, which is extra funding to fully cover the cost of new work we need to deliver following the introduction of new regulations