Harlow Council has directed more funding to deliver its five priorities to fix council housing, restore pride in Harlow, rebuild our town, secure investment into Harlow and improve council services.
The council’s latest financial performance report considered at Harlow’s Cabinet meeting on 7 September shows that the council is operating a strong financial position whilst investing record amounts into the town.
Despite councils up and down the country facing difficult financial challenges due to reducing income and rising costs, the reports shows that spending on the council’s core running costs (General Fund budget) is within budget at the end of the first quarter of the financial year.
The council has faced significant rising costs of energy and insurance premiums, as have all households, and also seen a reduction in car park income. Despite this, the council has been able to balance its books for the first quarter of the year. This has been achieved through the creation of some savings which don’t impact on service delivery, carefully management of budgets across the council and better than expected income from the Harvey Centre.
The report also highlights that:
- Over £23.5 million will be invested this year into specific capital projects to restore pride in Harlow, rebuild our town and improve council services. This is on top of the council’s core budget (General Fund) which expenditure this year totals £15.1 million for the day-to-day running of council services.
- Over £42.8 million will be invested this year into specific capital projects to fix council housing including major upgrades to council flat blocks and council homes. This is on top of the council’s core day-to-day housing budget (Housing Revenue Account) which totals nearly £60 million this year including money to clear the backlog in housing repairs and improve turnaround times of voids and new housing repairs.
The Cabinet approved even more investment into key priorities with more funding for projects including replacing broken and worn street name signs, a new sound-system in the Playhouse and upgrades to Harlow’s roundabouts.
Councillor James Leppard, cabinet portfolio holder for finance and governance, said:
"Through watching carefully how we spend every penny of our council taxpayers' money and taking prudent financial decisions like receiving income from the Harvey Centre and despite rising costs, the council is currently forecast to operate well within budget for 2023 to 2024. Not only are we within budget and improving council services but we are also directing even more money to deliver our priorities like fixing council housing, rebuilding our town, and restoring pride in Harlow.
“The council has frozen the Harlow element of council tax this year and is investing record amounts into delivering our priorities all whilst maintaining a strong financial position and operating within budget. We can only do this because of our prudent and efficient management of your council tax.”