“Future Ealing has already started
to bear fruit and begun to improve
peoples’ lives as well as saving money.
For example, the council has significantly
reduced the number of children who are
looked after by the council by carrying
out intensive work with families to help
them stay together – this improves
children’s lives while saving millions of
pounds. You can read about another
example on page six of this magazine,
about a scheme called Better Lives which
personalises adult social care.
“This is the type of smarter working
that will help us find our best path
through these intensely difficult times;
we will increasingly be working ever
more closely with residents, community
groups and other organisations to get
things done and make sure our borough
remains a great place to live and work.
PROJECTS TO IMPROVE BOROUGH
“In addition, we will continue to secure
investment in much-needed housing; and
for other projects like the impressive new
sports facilities being built at Gunnersbury
Park and the restoration of its heritage
features – which you can read more about
on page 13. Likewise, there are ongoing
heritage projects at Pitzhanger Manor in
Ealing and Southall Manor House, the
latter of which will transform the building
into a training hub for local people and
also a top dining destination; and there is
also a football centre being developed at
Rectory Park in Northolt with the Football
Association and others.”
In February councils across the country will be setting their
budgets for the coming year –including making a decision on
council tax rates.
Seven years of austerity cuts are causing the UK real pain and mean
further cuts here in Ealing are unavoidable. Yet demand for services,
especially for social care, is increasing year-on-year and we cannot turn
our backs on the most vulnerable members of our community.
So, as well as making difficult decisions on where the council can
make savings, we have set ourselves an ambitious challenge to review
services and find ways to improve them with less money; be creative
and innovate – including harnessing digital technology.
We have also been working to grow our way out of austerity. Our
regeneration projects have helped secure transport improvements
and more decent and affordable homes; and, by encouraging new
businesses to locate to the borough, new jobs have been created and
more income has been generated from business rates.
Through careful financial management, we have tried to avoid placing
too much of a burden on residents’ pockets and there has been a
freeze on core council tax rates in Ealing for 10 years.
I will be writing to you all in the coming weeks once a decision has
been made by the council on whether that freeze can continue in
2018/19 or whether the pressures on our borough’s finances are too
immense this year.
I can tell you now, though, that councillors have agreed to increase
council tax support for our poorest residents.
If you are quick you can still sign the Save Our Hospitals
campaign petition at www.sohpetition.co.uk before we take it
to NHS decision-makers in February. I urge you to turn to pages 12-13
to find out why you should do, if you have not already done so. We will
also be holding a public event on 15 February at The Dominion Centre
in Southall to state our case further – see www.ealing.gov.uk/soh