Foreword by Cllr Richard Cornelius, Leader of Barnet Conservatives
Barnet is a great place to live. We have wonderful green open spaces, the best schools in the country and safe and harmonious communities. In addition, Barnet has both high quality council services and low council tax.
To reach this position has been a challenge. Due to the need for our national government to tackle the huge debt and deficit inherited from Labour, our funding has been cut by 26%. Since 2010 we have successfully saved over £70m per year from the council budget, with further savings of £39m on the to being delivered for this year and the next. At the same time, satisfaction with council services has increased.
Because we have taken tough decisions early and cut back office costs, frontline services have been largely protected and we were able to cut your council tax.
We froze your council tax for four years, cut it last year and are delivering a further two-year freeze at this level. Under our plan you will have benefited from a real-terms cut in council tax of over 20% between 2010/11 and 2016/17, saving a Band D household £290 per year against inflationary increases.
You can find just some of the things we have achieved over the last couple of years here.
Our focus over the coming years will be to continue to bear down on costs, making services more efficient whilst improving their quality. We will keep tax low to help our hardworking residents. We will continue to deliver the much needed new housing and provide more excellent school places. We will protect the Green Belt and our open spaces. We will make services more responsive to your needs.
In challenging times, we will be there with a plan for how to cope with reduced funding and growing demographic pressures, but also with a positive vision of how to ensure Barnet thrives from its gowth.