View from the chamber: Renewal and recovery are firm priorities

Cllr Joseph Ejiofor is asking residents who, from the borough's diverse history, they want celebrati

Cllr Joseph Ejiofor is asking residents who, from the borough's diverse history, they want celebrating. - Credit: Archant

This weekend is going to be a scorcher, and traditionally in August our minds are focused on taking a break from work, enjoying a holiday, having a rest and recharging our batteries.

However, this year, following the lockdown imposed to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, the first half of 2020 has changed our world forever.

It has made us all reflect on the value of friends and family. It has made us ask ourselves about what is really important.

During the pandemic, the council’s main focus was how we protect, house and shield our residents, keep our public spaces safe, and deliver essential services with reduced capacity. I believe that we met that challenge well.

Now it’s summer, I’m really pleased that we have also managed to get our Summer Fun programme out, with activities for young people and children over the summer – many of which are free – have re-opened ball courts and skate parks and have been gradually reopening libraries.

As a council we’re adapting. I am really proud of the flexibility and the dedication of our staff, and the positive way that we have worked with partners.

But long before this global pandemic, our main focus was already the people of Haringey, and we’ve been working hard to make sure it is our residents who benefit from our borough plan priorities.

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We pledged to deliver 1,000 council homes at council rent and construction has already started on 331 – almost a third of our target.

Our commitment to a greener Haringey – from decarbonisation of our pension fund to investing in our parks – will help mitigate some of the health inequalities that have contributed to the spread of Covid-19.

We’re formalising an ethical debt collection policy which has already resulted in a 60 per cent reduction in the use of bailiffs relating to some of our least well-off residents.

We had also already taken big steps to support residents, such as making sure our least well-off families get a 100pc council tax rebate, becoming a fully accredited London Living Wage employer, signing a Charter Against Modern Slavery, and launching our Welcome Strategy to support migrants.

As we ease-down from lockdown, the council’s priorities will be around supporting renewal and recovery across the borough. That, and mitigating the recession that appears inevitable.

We will be supporting our residents, our businesses and

our voluntary sector organisations.

Finally, equality plays a massive part in what we do, and who we are. The council remains committed to the boroughwide street and place naming review that we launched last month.

A real discussion on the way in which we memorialise historical figures is long-overdue and I would encourage you to get involved at