With Christmas less than a month away, our community should be looking forward to the festive period with lots to celebrate. However, for a number of our residents these are some of the most challenging times they have ever faced.

For those who watched the Autumn Statement last week, they could be led to believe that the cost-of-living crisis is over. While some of the announcements are welcome, it is too little too late to help many thousands of hard-pressed residents in our borough hit by 13 years of government austerity.

The statement also did little to alleviate the unprecedented financial challenges the council faces, caused by escalating demand for services, high inflation and years of underfunding from central government.  

This is a similar story across the capital, with a prediction that London councils collectively face a shortfall of £600m in 2023/24 (Plea for Autumn Statement support as £600m shortfall looms - London Councils).

Until this government is willing to accept its responsibility to provide adequate and sustainable funding, we will have to step up and plug the gap.  

Ham & High: Cllr Dana Carlin says Government is not providing adequate or sustainable or funding to councilsCllr Dana Carlin says Government is not providing adequate or sustainable or funding to councils (Image: Haringey Council)

Our budget proposals for 2024/25, which were published this week, include more than £25 million in additional support for our most vulnerable residents, through increasing budgets for children’s and adults' social care and temporary housing. Safeguarding these vital services will inevitably lead to some tough choices in other areas as we continue to work towards a balanced budget. 

We provide 3,500 adult residents with care and support every day and the number is increasing year on year. In a letter to the Chancellor last week, council leader Cllr Peray Ahmet and my cabinet colleague Cllr Lucia das Neves made it clear we urgently need an ongoing settlement that meets the ever-growing demand for these and other services and the spiralling costs that flow from it. 

I am proud to say that we have invested in our award-winning parks, fantastic libraries, children’s centres and our roads and pavements. Our programme to deliver a new generation of 3,000 council homes will continue, as well as substantial improvements for existing council homes. 

We are working hard to best protect our services and the help we provide to our residents at this difficult time. With more than £16 million of savings still to find, we have much more work to do to get us to a balanced budget by February.  

This is an immense challenge, but together we will get there and continue to support those most in need.

  • Cllr Dana Carlin is cabinet member for Finance and Local Investment at Haringey Council.