Merton Council has agreed its budget for 2018/19 at last night’s full council meeting (28 February 2018).
Merton has taken the decision to increase council tax by 3%, with all of the £2.4m raised being used to contribute to the additional £9.6m a year allocated to adult social care services agreed at last year’s council meeting.
For the sixth year running, the council has also agreed to absorb the government’s 2012 reduction in council tax support, ensuring residents on low incomes continue to receive the same amount of council tax support as in previous years. Merton is only one of a handful of the 300 councils across the country to have kept this support in place.
Despite financial challenges, the council has opened a new library in Colliers Wood this month and started construction on the new leisure centre in Morden opening later this year. Also following the success of Merton’s secondary schools, which are either good or outstanding and are the best in the country for progress, the council is also working towards opening a new school in South Wimbledon to meet the increasing demand for school places in Merton.
The council has also invested in revitalising its town centres. Mitcham and Colliers Wood town centres are now better spaces for residents to enjoy. Also Morden is a step closer to becoming a vibrant town centre following Transport for London’s commitment to become a key partner and Morden Court Parade was recently shortlisted for an architecture award.
Cllr Mark Allison, Cabinet Member for Finance said: “This has been a tough decade for families’ finances, with less money to go around and so many more things we want to spend it on. It’s been exactly the same for the council. We want Merton to be a great place for families to live and grow up, but that means having to be careful with the pennies. By taking a business-like approach, making tough decisions, and working with partners to be more efficient, we’re able to have a new library and a new leisure centre, and more support for our older people. And with austerity not likely to end for some time, we’ll continue to do our best to fight for what our residents want.”