A letter from Councillor Ruth Dombey, Leader of the Council

Dear resident,

I have been the Leader of the London Borough of Sutton for nearly 12 years and there has not been a time when the financial crisis faced by the Council was as great as the one we see now.

Across the UK all councils are having to deal with the consequences of years of government underfunding, increased demands for our services and rising costs.

Here in Sutton, the amount the Council receives in funding from central government has been slashed and yet the number of adults and children requiring our care has risen hugely while the costs of providing this care has reached record levels. Along with the increase in the number of people who are finding themselves homeless, our budget is being stretched to its limit.

Most of our funding comes from our council tax and in order to continue to provide vital services, the government has assumed councils will pay for our increased costs by taxing our residents. So we have been left with no choice but to take the difficult decision to increase council tax.

This means the average Sutton household living in a Band D property will pay an extra £1.55 per week in council tax as well as an extra £0.72 per week for the Greater London Authority (Mayor of London) charge. This is a total increase of £2.27 per week.

I know that this council tax increase comes at a particularly hard time for many people and on the back of this letter you can find services that can help.

As we take the decision to increase council tax, I can promise that we will continue to be a council that uses your money wisely and well. Since 2011 the Council’s rigorous savings programme has seen us save over £118 million and most recently the Council has implemented programmes that will reduce the size of the Council’s workforce, while still continuing to provide those 800 services that we depend on.

Over the next year, with demands on our services showing no sign of reducing and with a further £10.6 million in savings we need to find, our budget remains under pressure.

In response to this, the Council is changing the way we do things. As part of our change programme, the Council will be seeking your views on the services we can afford to provide and I really encourage you to get involved.

Alongside this programme of change, we will also continue to manage the careful investments we have made that will benefit everyone living and working in our borough. For example, the London Cancer Hub in Belmont will bring thousands of new jobs; our plans to regenerate the town centre will provide better work and leisure opportunities, protect our shops and create new jobs and we will ensure that over 500 new affordable homes are built over the next five years to provide the housing that so many people desperately need.

Despite these challenging times ahead, I am confident that together we will build on the strength of our local communities and ensure that Sutton continues to be a great place to live, work and raise a family.

Yours faithfully,

Signature of Leader of the Council, Councillor Ruth Dombey
Councillor Ruth Dombey
Leader of Sutton Council

Download the letter as a PDF