Merton moving in right direction despite financial constraints

Merton council is this week reviewing another challenging but successful year with the launch of its annual report, summarising the 2006/2007 accounts. Despite having more limited funds in comparison with previous years, the facts and figures prove that Merton has achieved a great deal in the past 12 months.

In 2006/07 the council’s net spending on delivering council services was £132.9 million, which included £57.1 million on social services and £17.1 million on environmental services. In addition the council made £27.9 million worth of long-term capital investments on buildings and equipment, including £10.6 million on environmental and regeneration projects such as highways maintenance and road safety, and schools projects, for example kitchen modernisation.

Considering the financial challenges the council faced the report shows a number of important successes. There were 124 performance targets for 06/07 in the Business Plan, and 65% of these were fully met or exceeded, with key achievements including:

-Reducing spending on agency staff within the council
-Fewer younger people re-offending following a final warning and intervention
-Exceeding the target for the percentage of people who agree that their local area is a place where people from different backgrounds get on together
-Exceeding the target for number of completed affordable homes
-Removing 100% of racist/offensive graffiti from council housing within one working day
-Increasing the percentage of sites surveyed with no or little litter to 90.68%
-Increasing the percentage of 11 to 19 year olds who participate in recreation or leisure activities to 85%
-Improving customer access in Merton Link by reducing the average wait time for the housing benefit and council tax service desk to 14.9 minutes

Councillor Samantha George, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, Merton Council states:

“It has undoubtedly been a challenging year for Merton financially, but as this report shows, there is a great deal to be celebrated. Merton always strives to put its residents first, and the annual report confirms that by consulting with our residents we have invested wisely to ensure we can continue to improve services whilst also delivering value for money.”

-Ends-

Notes to editors

The annual report is available now to all residents and anyone who is interested in, or contributes to, the work of the council via our website:
http://www.merton.gov.uk/council/plansandpolicies/annualreport and is also available to view in the borough’s libraries.