“A progressive Budget at a time of hardship” will help support residents over the next 12 months and beyond, according to Haringey Leader Joseph Ejiofor, after the new budget was passed by the council this week.
Councillors acknowledged that the pandemic has had a profound impact on the local economy, the income of residents, and the mental health and wellbeing within in the community.
The new budget put in place continues to prioritise the council’s work to create a fairer and more equal borough and includes additional resources in 2021/22 for:
Free Schools Meals – £300k
A Welfare Assistance Scheme – £300k
Haringey’s local Voluntary and Community Sector – £250k
Youth Services – £250k
Haringey University Bursary Scheme – £120k over the next three years
Recruitment of local people – £100k over the next two years
Delivering the Good Economy Plan £2m, which includes a number of additional workspace creation schemes – £3.4m
The pandemic continued to show the importance of social care for both adults and children– the council will invest more into these services, bringing forward £5m to meet the needs of the community.
Much of the ‘additional resources’ announced by the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement was actually through the social care precept, which is paid by residents not provided by Government.
Therefore, to fund critical services the council will add 3% to the Adult Social Care precept and a 1.99% increase in council tax. The Haringey Council Tax Reduction Scheme means that the lowest income families with children and care leavers pay no Council Tax at all.
The budget will see continued investment in the council’s flagship council housing delivery programme which will see 1,000 new council homes at council rents on site by March 2022, with the first properties starting to change lives within just the next few weeks.
The Good Economy Recovery Plan sets out how the council will support businesses through Covid-19 recovery, while the Employment and Skills Recovery Action Plan works with businesses to create more high-quality job opportunities in the borough.
To support our young people to get ahead, a new Wood Green Youth Hub is being created. School building improvement works, the full refurbishment works of Pendarren House will continue; and the Alternative (school) Provision Strategy will continue to be implemented alongside the expansion youth outreach workers.
The council wants to improve the environment by making it safer, cleaner and greener. As part of this work, £18m will be invested to improve roads and pavements across the borough and a Walking and Cycling Action Plan will be introduced to make it easier and safer to walk and cycle.
Cllr Ejiofor, Leader of Haringey Council, said:
“This is a progressive budget at a time of hardship. We know that the next few years may be difficult for many of our residents, but we will be on their side doing all we can to support them in tough times.
“We are supporting those who need it most through expanding free school meals and introducing new welfare assistance support. We are investing in our young people through with extra youth workers, a new Youth Centre and university bursaries. We are investing in our future with new school buildings, new public realm infrastructure and new homes.
“We know the council tax increase comes at a difficult time, but ten years of austerity means we have no choice. We must invest in critical services to support our most vulnerable people and to deliver excellent public services to all.
“We are taking difficult decisions for the long-term benefit of our residents and are committed to getting the greatest benefit for every penny that we spend.
“We firmly believe that the government needs to redraw council tax to make it fairer – but Haringey is pushing the envelope locally and has one of the biggest council tax discount schemes anywhere in the country for lower-income families.
“We will continue to do all that we can to support our residents as we look towards recovery and growth for our borough. We are confident that our progressive budget will achieve this.”