As we return from the winter break, Brent Council is entering the final stages of our budget setting process for 2014/15.
I know that these are tough times for many in Brent. Helping out at a South Kilburn foodbank over Christmas, I met countless working parents struggling to put food on the table and heat their homes. Yet even as rising food and energy bills, rents and transport fares continue to squeeze family budgets, unprecedented government funding cuts are forcing the Council to make changes to the frontline services which local people rely on daily.
It’s clear that there are difficult decisions ahead, but I am determined that this will be a budget to create jobs, fuel growth and help our borough emerge from these tough times fighting.
That’s why I’m proposing that next year’s budget include a £100 million building and expansion programme to deliver more school places for Brent children, and a house-building plan on a scale our borough has not seen in generations.
Across London, we face nothing short of a housing crisis. Last year Brent built 650 new homes, almost 500 of which are affordable housing, but we will need to build many more in the years to come.
I’m proud that 1,000 new affordable homes are currently under construction in Brent- the second highest number of any London borough. I know that by working together as a community we can forge a brighter, fairer and more prosperous future for everyone in our borough.
We are clear in our resolve. In 2014, we will get Brent building again.