2024 has already been a tumultuous year in politics and we are barely into March.

With the shameful scenes in Parliament last month and the events that unfolded in the Rochdale by-election, party politics is also not being held in high esteem.

But it's not just Westminster that has been in the news in recent weeks. February and March are when budget-setting takes place for local authorities across the country, and we have seen some worrying pictures, with many councils either declaring bankruptcy or very much on the brink.

We are aware that some of these boroughs have found themselves in that situation due to their own poor financial decisions, but ultimately local authorities are just simply not being provided enough funding by the Tory government to stay afloat.

So what can local councils do in the face of this attack from the Government?

Well, the reality is they have to carry on as before, but with an ever greater focus on making the right decisions. A reduction in budgets cannot simply be an excuse to cast aside some absolutely crucial areas of our local communities, such as the libraries that have become the target of cuts here in Haringey.

Ham & High: Cllr Luke Cawley-Harrison says that Haringey Council have to focus on making the right decisionsCllr Luke Cawley-Harrison says that Haringey Council have to focus on making the right decisions (Image: D Tothill2018)

But when times are difficult, and backs are against the wall, councils like Haringey’s need to make a choice: do they down tools and throw their hands up in the air, or do they come out fighting; standing up for the residents of this borough. Because this borough can be improved significantly with a change in attitude. A can-do attitude, instead of a that’ll-do attitude.

Last year the housing ombudsman’s damning report into Haringey declared a ‘culture of apathy’ within the council and I am sure few who have had dealings with the council would have been surprised.

Housing repairs go ignored, street litter is left uncleared, lamp posts unfixed, complaints and issues unresolved. But culture changes cost nothing. It is about leadership, mindset, and attitude throughout the organisation to be your best and do your best each and every day by your residents - not having an extra £10 million to spend.

So as we move further into what we expect to be a difficult 2024, my hope is that Haringey blocks out the noise and focuses on getting this culture right. Do that and we can hope that things will actually start to get cleaned, repaired, resolved, fixed, updated, improved, etc; in the right way, and in a timely manner. Can do, not that’ll do.

  • Luke Cawley-Harrison is councillor of Crouch End ward, Haringey Council and leader of the Liberal Democrat Group.