Leader's column on how the council is delivering in Haringey
Do politicians ever deliver on their manifesto pledges? That might be a rhetorical question asked by many a voter, however, as Leader of Haringey Council, I am determined that our administration will deliver on the commitments made to Haringey residents.
Last week, we published our “Borough Plan Delivery Plan”, the document through which our residents can see how we are turning our manifesto promises into over 220 deliverable actions. It showed the progress that we have made and highlighted key actions soon to come.
This year we have made great steps forward on our key priorities: fighting housing injustice, building a fairer economy, investing in a bright future for children and young people in Haringey, and making Haringey a cleaner, greener place.
We have done so while continuing to do the vital work that councils are responsible for, from safeguarding children and vulnerable adults to keeping our streets clean, maintaining our parks and running our libraries.
The desperate need for affordable and stable housing in Haringey is undeniable, and so we made the ambitious pledge to deliver 1,000 new council homes at council rents by 2022. We have a substantial programme of sites across the borough and work has already begun at Templeton Road in Seven Sisters.
Our rough sleeping outreach team continues to do outstanding work and was highly commended at last year’s London Homelessness Awards. Since then we’ve opened Mulberry Junction, our brand-new resource centre in Tottenham, assisting people experiencing homelessness. In just over two months, we’ve helped more than 100 people off the streets.
Haringey declared a climate emergency in March 2019, and we are preparing to publish one of the first costed and measurable Climate Action Plans in London. We will then work with partners across the community to agree the ambition and work on its delivery. We have an ambitious Air Quality Action Plan, a major tree planting programme and a School Streets scheme to protect young people from pollution.
We are continuing our urgent work to ensure that children in Haringey have a bright future by putting more money into services for young people. Last year we ran a really successful summer programme, we’ve hired a team of new youth workers, we’re funding Bruce Grove Youth Space and we are building partnerships between community groups and the police to help keep young people safe. We are also looking at where we can locate additional youth provision in the west of the borough.
Importantly, we are also laying the foundations for a strong local economy. Haringey is now a ‘community wealth-building’ council that is working hard to make sure that every pound we spend benefits the local economy. This year we have made a major commitment to expand the London Living Wage to key care workers. We are also bringing down the number of services contracted-out to private companies. This will ensure that the private profit can be used to deliver more services, create jobs for local people and save taxpayers’ money.
A few months ago we launched our Reach and Connect programme to prevent social isolation among the over-50s, and we have also secured funding for a new women’s refuge. Our Fairness Commission heard from more than 1,500 local people and will be issuing its first report this year, while our ground-breaking Connected Communities programme was nominated for a Europe-wide Innovation in Politics award for its work in supporting integration and helping new arrivals to Haringey to access health services, housing and other essential amenities. It’s now available in hubs around the borough and even has its own downloadable app.
We might have less money than we used to, but this administration is ambitious about what a council can do to create a fairer, more equal borough. We’re making good progress, but we are in no doubt that there is plenty more to do. We are ready for the challenge.