Southwark Council responds to Autumn Budget 2017

24 November 2017

Cllr Fiona Colley, Cabinet Member for Finance, Modernisation and Performance has responded to the Autumn Budget on behalf of Southwark Council.
Cllr Colley says: “Firstly, Southwark Council has been at the forefront of pressing government to make urgent changes to Universal Credit, so I welcome the announcement in the Budget that some of those changes will now happen. We recommended that government end the seven day waiting period and continue paying Housing Benefit for those already claiming; it is very welcome that the government has taken these recommendations on board. 
“However, I remain concerned about the amount of time people will be left waiting for their first payment. Five weeks is a significant period of time for our poorest residents to be without financial support. There is still more to be done and I will continue to stand up for our residents to ensure that the most vulnerable people in our community are not pushed unnecessarily into debt through Universal Credit.
“Alongside Universal Credit, the council has campaigned for greater freedom to borrow in order to build the homes our communities so desperately need, so it is encouraging that the government will take steps towards that by lifting the housing borrowing cap. However, the additional funding for council homebuilding is not nearly enough to meet growing demand and the government has failed to set out how many of the new homes in the 300,000 housing target will be genuinely affordable. The Budget simply does not go far enough to tackle the national housing crisis. 
“The Budget also ignored the needs of the most vulnerable in our society. There was no additional funding commitments made for children’s or adults’ services despite repeated calls from local authorities that more money was so desperately needed to provide these vital services. Demand is increasing but government does not seem to be listening.” 

Page last updated: 24 November 2017