Borough left reeling over coalition cut
The government decision to dramatically cut Haringey’s grant – causing an �85million shortfall over the next three years – is a “hammer blow”, says the council.
Trade unionists are branding the cuts – which make Haringey the sixth worst affected borough in London – “Thatcherite” and claim they are targeted at Labour authorities.
On Monday, Conservative communities secretary Eric Pickles announced the government’s settlement for local authorities.
The difference between what Haringey received this year and what it will get in April 2011 amounts to a 7.9 per cent reduction – or a loss of �24.3million.
But Haringey Council says the figure does not take into account in-year cuts already made in spending based on what they thought they would get from govenment. This makes it a “staggering” 13 per cent cut in funding.
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Since demand for services has increased since the coalition came to power, the government grant will leave them with an unprecedented �46million budget shortfall, it says. Over three years, this will increase to �85million.
It is now inevitable that cuts to services will have to take place, admits council leader Claire Kober.
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“We asked every department to deliver immediate back office efficiencies and to start looking at where else we might make savings as we braced ourselves for the worst,” she said.
“It now seems the worst has come. The speed and sheer scale of the cuts we are being forced to make will undoubtedly now have a detrimental effect on vital services and on the people of Haringey.
“The government cuts are a hammer blow, particularly when we are already one of the most deprived boroughs in the country.
‘‘We have lobbied the government hard and urged them to listen to the needs of people in Haringey. But our pleas have fallen on deaf ears.”
Haringey TUC chairman Keith Flett said the cuts had the “reek of revenge”. He said: “Once again a Tory government is punishing the people of Haringey for having the temerity to vote Labour.”
But Liberal Democrat leader, Cllr Robert Gorrie, said the cuts weren’t as bad as “Labour propaganda” made out.
He added: “Labour in Haringey have put this borough in the worst possible situation to weather the necessary reduction in public expenditure.”
The council will review the settlement details and plans for initial savings will be announced at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
o For a full breakdown of how the cuts will affect your services, see next week’s Broadway.