Introduction by Cllr Joseph Ejiofor
This year’s budget comes in the context of severe ongoing budget pressures. Haringey, just like many councils across the country, has seen huge cuts in funding since 2010. The Government has reduced grant funding to Haringey by £124 million; the number of people working to provide council services has almost halved, whilst our population and their needs continue to grow. We must find a further £24 million of savings or new income to make the budget balance over the next five years. So there are some tough decisions ahead.
Despite all of this, we will never lose sight of why we exist - to serve our residents, communities and businesses by building a greener, fairer, safer Haringey. We are so proud of Haringey and we know our residents are too. Whilst there are injustices and inequalities to be fought - we will work tirelessly for change.
This budget is all about delivering on our priorities: fighting housing injustice, building a fairer economy, ensuring every child and young person has a bright future and tackling the climate emergency.
Fighting housing injustice
London’s housing crisis means there’s increasing pressure on us to provide genuinely affordable homes. This administration was elected last year with a promise to deliver 1,000 additional council homes at council rent. We have secured more than £60 million of Building Council Homes for Londoners funding from the Mayor of London, and we have plans for funding new homes on more than 60 sites over the next few years - starting on site this month at Templeton Road in Seven Sisters.
We will improve the quality of private rented housing by introducing selective licensing of the private rented sector.
We are buying new homes to let to those in need of temporary accommodation, improving standards for tenants and saving the council money.
Building a fairer economy and tackling economic inequality
We are already an accredited London Living Wage employer, which ensures fair levels of pay for all staff directly employed by the council, and this year we have made a funding commitment of more than £4 million to ensure that staff who provide social care services for adults through our partner organisations are paid at least the London Living Wage.
As we did last year, we will provide full Council Tax relief for our least well-off residents with children and continue to exempt care-leavers until the age of 25.
Our ‘in-house by default’ policy means we are bringing services that are currently outsourced back to direct council delivery. This will save us money, make us a stronger and more sustainable organisation for the future, but will also see a real improvement in terms, conditions and job security for the staff running these services - many of whom live in Haringey.
- Insourcing our facilities management contract, through which council offices and civic buildings are maintained, will save £150,000 each year
- By using local properties leased directly by the council for unaccompanied asylumseeking children, we will save £150,000 each year and improve the service we can offer these young people
Ensuring every child and young person has a bright future
This year we continue to invest additional resources in services for our young people. This includes funding Bruce Grove Youth Centre, our significantly expanded summer activity programme and our new Community Gold youth workers.
We are proud that 99% of our schools continue to be rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted. All our children deserve to be taught in modern buildings in safe environments, so we will invest £50 million in our school buildings in the next five years.
Over the past 10 years we have protected Haringey’s nine libraries. This year’s budget includes proposals to invest in libraries to ensure they are used to their full potential, and that they are accessible to all.
Tackling the climate emergency - Making Haringey a cleaner, greener place
Since declaring a climate emergency in March 2019, we have been developing plans to become carbon-neutral. We will shortly publish London’s first costed and measurable Zero Climate Action Plan covering the actions of the whole of the borough’s carbon footprint.
We have an ambitious tree planting programme focusing on the nine wards in the borough where the tree canopy is less than 20%, planting an additional 750 trees in the next two years.
To create safer, less polluted environments around our schools we will invest £3 million in School Streets schemes across the borough.
We’re proposing to reduce the charge to residents for bulky waste collection by 20% - down to £20 for up to four items - to help increase the take-up of the service and reduce fly-tipping.
What we need from our residents
The proposals that we are consulting on aim to deliver on our shared priorities whilst spending your money wisely. It is vital to us that every penny we spend goes on the things that make the most difference to the people who live here and achieve the people’s priorities.
For this to happen, we need your views on our proposals. This is your borough; we are here to serve you. Please make your voice heard.
Cllr Joseph Ejiofor
Leader of Haringey Council