Introduction by Cllr Claire Kober
Leader of Haringey Council
I’m proud that we’ve delivered some significant improvements to our borough during the past four years, despite facing the most severe funding cuts in a generation.
Government reductions to our grants have seen more than £160million slashed from our funding. We still have to deliver £15million savings in 2018/19 and there will be further financial challenges beyond next year.
Yet, in the face of this, we’ve helped deliver more than 1,600 new affordable homes – 72 percent of all major developments and are bringing more than £1billion external investment to the borough to try to build a more sustainable future.
We’ve supported more than 900 people into jobs and apprenticeships as we strive to tackle unemployment and give local people the skills they need to succeed, and we have invested in local businesses to help them to grow and flourish in Haringey.
We’ve worked with our schools’ community to continue to drive up standards, with almost all of Haringey’s schools are now rated good or outstanding by Ofsted – giving our young people the best opportunities.
We’ve increased recycling rates and led the way on pioneering schemes to slash our carbon footprint; and we’ve invested in road and pavement improvements, to make your streets safer and more pedestrian friendly. We’ve also helped bring extra police officers to the beat in Haringey.
And we’ve made great progress against our ambitious plans to build the thousands of new homes and create the thousands of new jobs that local people have made it clear they want.
We have to be frank about the financial challenge facing local authorities – with dwindling resources and ongoing funding cuts going hand-in-hand with rising demand for services. Haringey is no exception. Since 2010, we’ve seen more than £160million slashed from our budgets by central government. By 2020, your council will be half the size it was in 2010.
It’s not possible to deliver that level of savings simply by tightening our belts. We’ve had to make some very difficult decisions, including reducing or ending some services. And we have had to rethink how we do things – making sure we invest in growth so that we can safeguard the borough’s future for when government grants dry up entirely. In just a few years’ time, we will be entirely dependent on the income we receive from your council tax and business rates to fund local services. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important that Haringey is a place where many more people can make their home, and where more businesses can thrive.
We want to do what we can to ease the burden on local residents, especially those who are struggling to make ends meet, which is why we are recommending that we continue to freeze the core portion of your council tax in 2018/19. We also have to make sure that we invest the council’s budget in the right places – prioritising the things that are most important to you and ensuring we protect our most vulnerable residents.
Please do let us know what you think in this budget consultation.
Cllr Claire Kober
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