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Haringey budget: Labour councillors hike council tax by 3pc during Lib Dem opposition slap down

PUBLISHED: 16:23 27 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:23 27 February 2018

Crouch End Cllr Jason Arthur presents Haringey's budget at a meeting at the Civic Centre in Wood Green on Monday. Picture: JON KING

Crouch End Cllr Jason Arthur presents Haringey's budget at a meeting at the Civic Centre in Wood Green on Monday. Picture: JON KING

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The Liberal Democrats lost a fight over how Haringey spends its money last night as outgoing leader Claire Kober and her Labour councillors voted for a three per cent council tax hike.

Labour councillors voted against 10 amendments tabled by the Liberal Democrat opposition. Picture: JON KING Labour councillors voted against 10 amendments tabled by the Liberal Democrat opposition. Picture: JON KING

The borough’s Labour councillors voted down every one of 10 changes the eight Haringey Lib Dems wanted made to the council’s budget for 2018/2019.

Speaking before her party’s councillors slapped down the amendments, Cllr Claire Kober said she had been left scratching her head over the changes the Lib Dems wanted to see.

She accused them of abandoning their principles in a drive to win votes: “I see a Labour Party moving to the left. Now I see a Lib Dem Party which was in bed with the Conservatives over austerity now taking on a left-wing Labour Party, from the left.”

Every Labour councillor voted to increase council tax by three per cent to help fund adult social care services at last night’s meeting in Haringey Civic Centre.

But the Lib Dems wanted a raft of changes. Among these were plans to reverse the green waste charge; improve Muswell Hill and Highgate libraries; expand the Osborne Grove nursing home; save money by sharing the council’s chief executive with another borough and using £93million from scrapping plans for a joint regeneration scheme with developer Lendlease to fund a council owned housing firm.

Highgate Cllr Clive Carter blasted the council’s approach to building more homes in the borough, known as the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) calling it the Titanic of housing deals. “If it sinks it will take down a lot of people and property with it,” he said.

A proposal to pay for two more police officers to tackle moped crime was rejected along with every other amendment.

Crouch End Cllr Jason Arthur, defending the Labour budget, accused the Lib Dems of being “lightweights” living in a “fantasy world” and described costings around their flagship housing policy as “a shambles”. He added: “Voters looked at what you had to offer before and said, ‘We’re not buying it.’”

On the council tax hike, he said: “It’s the right thing to do to provide critical services, but it in no way meets what we need.”

The council estimates three per cent will bring in £3m extra per year for adult social care. An increase of around 70p per week for a Band D property.

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