Government cuts and a huge increase in demand for social care mean the way public services are delivered must change in Ealing. Rather than spreading our ever-dwindling resources across many services, we are proposing to start again and take a fresh look at how we could provide fewer, better targeted services that make more of an impact.
Even if we make these changes, the scale of the challenge we are facing means that we cannot do this work alone. At our Talk Future Ealing roadshow (pictured above) this summer and autumn, 62% of people who filled in our survey said they would be willing to help through activities such as volunteering, recycling more or helping an elderly neighbour.
We will certainly need your support. As I was writing this, the council was discussing how it might close a funding gap of £57million. It is an incredibly tough challenge.
Since 2010 the council has lost £143million from its government grant. This is a drop of almost two-thirds and is greater than the London and national averages.
At the same time, demand for our services is higher than it has ever been. For example, £232,000 is now being spent every day on adult social care alone.
However, the council is legally obliged to present a balanced budget. This means we will have to make significant changes to how we operate to avoid the doomsday scenario of going bust.
We will publish some budget plans in December and consultations will take place in the first part of 2019; but I urge everyone to find out how you can help by visiting the Bubble community website at www.dosomethinggood.org.uk
More information will start to appear after 12 December on the council website as more detail begins to become available.