Merton Council has to find £17m over the next four years to fund essential services. On the agenda for a meeting of the council’s cabinet on Monday is a draft business plan for 2019-23. As part of the meeting, the cabinet is set to agree the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS). The way Merton Council sets the budget is in four-year terms. Explaining the financial strategy, council leader Cllr Stephen Alambritis said: “Rather than take a view of the budget year by year, we need to make sure money coming in pays for these services we’ve promised residents, to make sure there’s money for capital projects like the new swimming pool. “This year we haven’t had to make much in the way of cuts. Next year we have to do some cuts. The year after more cuts, and the year after that, more. “We’ve still got to find £17-18m over four years but we are doing that over four years.” Cllr Alambritis said there are a few places the council is hoping this money could come from including from council tax and being able to keep more of its business rates. He said: “At the moment, councils are like piggy in the middle – the government tells us what business rates to collect, we give it back to the government and they give us some back. “The government has said we can now keep it all, especially if we’ve created new businesses.” There are also plans for business rates to be pooled between the 32 London boroughs. Income generation, like renting out the borough’s parks for events, is another way Cllr Alambritis is hoping the council can make some more money. “They do raise money for the council tax payer so we are keen, providing licensing committee agrees and residents are informed, to increase our revenue streams by using our parks for example,” he said. As it stands funding adult social care is the biggest strain on the council with 45% of funds going on it. The council leader added that it is the same situation across the country. “We want people to be as independent as possible and that can be expensive but we want to pay for that for them,” he said.