Annual alternative budgets

For the last decade, Camden Conservatives have tabled alternative budgets to demonstrate the practical difference between a Conservative-run Camden and one continuing to be mismanaged by Labour.

Each year, we propose realistic, costed savings from waste that we've identified each year in the council.  This can then be reinvested in further services: from restoring weekly bin collections and ending the garden tax, to investing in more police and reopening police bases, to increasing investment in our schools, to protecting our community pubs and libraries.

Each budget amendment must by law be balanced, and the costings of proposals are done by council officers, so these alternative budgets reflect the council's real estimate of the costs and savings from individual policies.

They are tabled in the form of amendments each year, so they use the administration's budget as a foundation.  Therefore, all decisions to invest in services are priced in already - our amendment is simply the difference.

By rejecting the amendment, Labour and Lib Dem councillors therefore demonstrate that they do not want the additional services and lower Council Tax, even though they are funded solely by cutting waste - without cutting services anywhere else.

It shows that the only way to get a cleaner, greener, safer Camden is with a Conservative-run Camden.

2019-20 Alternative Budget

2019/20 Alternative Budget:

Towards a cleaner, greener, safer Camden

Our alternative budget in 2019/20 proposed to delivery the things that residents put us as Conservative councillors in Town Hall for:

  • Making Camden cleaner by restoring weekly bin collections, ending Camden's Garden Tax, and increasing fines for fly-tipping and littering.
  • Making Camden greener by installing 500 electric vehicle charging points and increasing penalties for engine idling
  • Making Camden safer by hiring 18 new police officers and opening a police base at Swiss Cottage library
  • Supporting Camden's children by increasing funding for school improvement by 20% and providing grants to community libraries
  • Supporting Camden's communities by giving Business Rates reliefs to ACVs like pubs, giving more information to residents when they move or about nearby planning applications, and giving shoppers 20 minutes free parking on our minor high streets
  • Reduce Council Tax by 1%

To pay for this, we identified millions in budget savings by sharing back-office functions with neighbouring councils.  Camden had recognised that this is viable and beneficial by trying to merge digital services with Labour-run Haringey and Islington, but this collapsed in 2019: costing Camden millions.  However, Camden sits next door to the country's most successful shared-services arrangement: the "Bi-Borough" arrangement between Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea.  Officers estimated this would save £2.3m every year: enough to pay for all of the above, cut Council Tax by 1%, and still make a surplus.

Read it here.

2020-21 Alternative Budget

2020/21 Alternative Budget

Safer streets, cleaner air, and a brighter future for Camden

In 2020, we built on our 2018 manifesto and 2019 budget with proposals to fund front-line services to improve Camden now and in the future:

  • The most anti-crime budget in Camden's history - In light of the hundreds of new police officers in Camden being hired by the Government, we budgeted to open police bases in Hampstead and Swiss Cottage, deploy SmartWater across the borough to make Camden a burglary-free borough, and invest in intervention to bust the cycle of youth violence.
  • Improving air quality - We tabled a costed plan to install 2,000 electric car charging points over two years, fund the teaching of cycling in every school, and supporting school bus and technology to encourage car-pooling to reduce traffic.
  • Cleaning up our streets - We again tabled a plan to restore weekly bin collections, end the Garden Tax, and increase penalties on fly-tipping and littering, but also costed plans to develop an app that helps people recycle and provide separate nappy collection bins.
  • Supporting Camden's future - Increasing funding for schools improvement by 20%, introducing clubs to teach coding in every state school and cutting costs by a third, and investing £100,000 in our community libraries and Swiss Cottage.
  • Reduce Council Tax by 1%

As well as the potential to save £2.4m by sharing back-office services, which we identified in our 2019/20 budget, we noticed that Camden has 2,191 parking spaces on its estates that are never used, i.e. more parking spaces than there are residents with cars.  We proposed letting out two-thirds of these otherwise unused spaces: raising £1.5m for the General Fund and £500,000 to reinvest in Housing.  Together with other savings, like letting out Camden's unused office space in its plush HQ, this is enough to pay for the dramatically improved services above and cut Council Tax.

Read it here.

2021-22 Alternative Budget

2021/22 Alternative Budget

Helping Camden bounce back

In 2021, we identified a number of ways that Camden could bounce back from Covid, while still funding the essential improvements that residents expected and we proposed in previous years' budgets:

  • Helping children catch up - Camden has pivoted to remote learning in schools more slowly than many councils have. Our budget would have funded a laptop for every child to allow every child to catch up outside school hours.
  • Supporting businesses through streateries and pop-up shops - Camden Conservatives spearheaded streateries in Belsize Village, and we proposed funding to roll out six more streateries. Our plans would also have regenerated one urban village a year, supported dozens of pop-up shop sites on low-occupation high streets, and introduced a specific licence to turn phone boxes into pop-up businesses.
  • Delivering a cleaner, greener, safer Camden - With more people spending time at home, keeping residential streets clean and safe has become more important. So we once again proposed a costed plan to restore weekly bin collections, end the Garden Tax, deploy 1,000 electric vehicle chargers a year, opening new police bases in north-west Camden, and making Camden a burglary-free borough.
  • Reduce Council Tax by 1%

As well as the savings identified in our previous budgets, we have proposed implementing a Lane Rental Scheme, by which the council charges roadwork contractors for each day they dig up the road: encouraging them to coordinate works.  We would also have ended the precautionary pollarding of trees, and stop councillors' allowances being increased as Labour and Lib Dems proposed. 

Read it here.

2022-23 Alternative Budget

2022/23 Alternative Budget

Making Camden Listen

In 2022, we identified a number of ways that give residents a voice, deliver better services, and cut their Council Tax:

  • Giving every resident a say on everything Camden does - Introducing a direct participatory democracy platform whereby residents can vote for or against policies, introduce local community councils across the borough, and launching an Participation and Engagement Fund to give Camden's tenants and leaseholders a voice.
  • Delivering a cleaner, greener, safer Camden - As in previous years, proposing restoring weekly bin collections, more electric vehicle charge points, action on fly-tipping and roadworks, opening police bases in Hampstead and Swiss Cottage, taking action to make Camden a burglary-free borough, making better use of CCTV, and opening new streateries and parks.
  • Reduce Council Tax by 2%

As well as the savings identified in our previous budgets, we have proposed raising money by licensing a floating car club (as in Wandsworth), prioritising parking enforcement on streets that are sensitive to traffic (as in Westminster), and charging for areas of planning advice that Camden currently gives applicants for free (as in Westminster).

Read it here.