Your Labour-run administration has set another balanced budget for the 2021/22 financial year without any cuts to vital frontline services. A progressive budget at a time of hardship. Cllr Charles Adje, Cabinet Member for Finance and Strategic Regeneration
As some of you may be aware, over the past 10 years local government has had to deal with cuts and inadequate funding from central government. Things haven’t been easy for local authorities across the board, and Haringey has had its fair share of these pressures on its finances.
Despite these pressures, and despite the government reneging on its promise to reimburse local authorities for the Covid-19 pandemic spend in full, we have nevertheless, as a result of sound management of our finances, been able to do what’s necessary to continue to provide vital frontline services to our communities while maintaining a financially stable Council.
I am therefore pleased to inform you that following the consultation on the budget and the Spending Review 2020, and the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, as well as discussions at Labour Group, your Labour-run administration has set another balanced budget for the 2021/22 financial year without any cuts to vital frontline services. A budget that we all should be proud of.
A progressive budget at a time of hardship: this budget continues the trend to fulfil our manifesto promises and commitments.
Given the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic, we have also had to respond to new ways of working and to the delivery of services to meet the demands of our communities.
This Labour administration continues to strive and remain committed to fulfilling and achieving real change for our residents, protecting the most vulnerable in our society, and delivering high quality services despite a decade of the austerity that continues to threaten the prosperity and wellbeing of people in our borough and across the country.
The budget includes an increase in Council Tax of 1.99%, the maximum allowed without a referendum and the utilising of the Adult Social Care Precept (3%). This administration is acutely aware that Council Tax is a very regressive tax. That’s why we will continue to promote applications for the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS), expanded eligibility for free school meals, and wider access to benefits.
This progressive budget, which is in line with our manifesto, prioritises additional funding for our communities as outlined below:
· Expansion of Free Schools Meals eligibility – £0.35m
· Welfare Assistance Scheme – £0.3m
· Voluntary and Community Sector – £0.25m
· Youth Services – £0.25m
· Haringey University Bursary Scheme – £0.12m
· Recruit Local People – £0.10m
As well as capital funding for:
· The creation on the Wood Green Youth Hub: £1m
· Further school improvements conditions work: £33m
· Increased investment in our roads, pavements and other public realm: £18m
· Expansion of the strategy to tackle empty homes: £5m
· The completion of the Pendarren refurbishment: £4.6m
· Replacement of the Adults Social Care system: £2.5m
· The Good Economy Plan £2m, and a number of additional workspace creation schemes: £3.4m
· Implementing the Alternative (School) Provision Strategy: £12m
· The complete refurbishment of the Civic Centre £14.25m (additional to existing budget of £9.75m) as it is a Grade II Listed building and is to be fully refurbished for Council, civic and community uses.
I am pleased that in the face of the enormous challenges presented by the pandemic and the longer-term impacts of central government policies, this administration is on course to deliver on our manifesto priorities and to set a balanced budget.
Cllr Charles Adje
Cabinet Member for Finance and Strategic Regeneration