For the last six years, Crawley Borough Council has bucked the trend. Despite huge cuts to local government funding, every year we have managed to generate enough new revenue to make up for the cuts without having to put council tax up above inflation. Due to the pandemic, that streak has come to an end.
Throughout the lockdown, the money-making parts of the council were forced to shut, while various new costs arose. Unfortunately, the financial consequences will last long beyond this one year, with the economic impact resulting in a significant ongoing cut to the council’s income from business rates and council tax.
As a result, for the first time in six years we are having to make real cuts to balance the budget. We will do everything we can to make savings humanely and minimise the impact on frontline services, but there will be real consequences for service delivery.
This could not come at a worse time. The policies for tackling the coronavirus have hit Crawley’s economy harder than any other in the UK, resulting in thousands of job losses. Putting in place the support local families need takes money, yet the council’s income is dropping and support from Government has been very limited.
Regardless, we continue to work with other public bodies, companies and representative bodies to support and up-skill local job hunters, while attracting new industries to the town. It’s a long, slow process, but we together we will create a better future for the town.
Cllr Peter Lamb
Leader, Crawley Borough Council