£14 million in the red over care and homes crisis

Peter Landman reports from the October meeting of the Newham Council Cabinet

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Latest Quarter Financial Report 

This showed a forecast overspend of £14.2 million, on the general fund. The Council, by law, must not have an overspend at the end of the financial year. 

The main sources of overspend are: 

  • £4.2 million on temporary accommodation for homeless people 
  • £3.6 million on children and young adult services and 
  • £3.4 million on health and adult social care. 

The report lists measures to reduce this. 

On Temporary Accommodation, the key objective is to reduce expenditure on overnight stays for homeless people in hotels. 

The Council is working on a raft of measures including finding accommodation for homeless familes outside of Newham. 

Council Acquisitions of Properties in Newham 

The Council estimates that £2.8 million could be saved by buying back of council properties that were subject to right to buy. 

The arrangement is the Council gets a government loan for the purchase, sets up lets, and gets a return on the loan from rental income. 

Bringing back into use empty properties on Custom House and Canning Town estates. 

Homelessness Prevention 

The Council has set up a prevention team. Main task is negotiation with landlords to avoid evictions, leading to more homelessness. 

On Health and Adult Social Care 

There have been inflationary costs also on care services, and there has been a 50 percent increase in nursing home costs. But on the other hand the Government has introduced a Hospital Discharge Fund for grants to projects freeing hospital beds. 

Future of Canning Town Library 

Cabinet agreed to start a tender process to convert the empty library into a social use hub, with a Newham Archive Centre, learning centre, public spaces, and workshops. 

Substance Misuse 

The contract with Newham Rise is coming up for renewal. The new contract will put more emphasis on community outreach and prevention. And the Council will need to think of more warning action for young people about the risks of vaping