Now policing, youth services and parks are in the firing line

PARKS, youth services, policing and council staff will bear the brunt of Haringey’s second raft of cuts as it attempts to claw back another �34million of savings.

The council is working to balance an �85million budget deficit over the next three years.

While adult and community services were first in the firing line to save �28million in an announcement last December, now the council is widening its targets. And at least another �20million cuts still need to be found, it says.

More than �3.5million will come from backroom efficiencies. But Lib Dems say the chief executive’s admission at a recent meeting that the authority is “rotund” shows more can be cut from that budget to protect front-lines services, such as youth clubs and early years childcare services.

The latest papers include �6.5million cuts to early years and childcare services, a 75 per cent reduction in youth services, increased use of private firms and staff reductions in parks and scores of job cuts.

Crouch End Safer Neighbourhood’s Panel chairman Fred Williams criticised the �305,000 cuts to extra police provision.

“I think it’s a false economy – everyone is cutting back from Scotland Yard to local policing and I think it’s short-sighted,” he said.

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Haringey Friends of Parks Forum secretary Joan Curtis said: “There’s a danger that parks will return to the neglect of the 1980s unless people speak out now.”

The savings plan will be discussed by Haringey’s overview and scrutiny committee on Tuesday before returning to cabinet.

Labour finance cabinet member Cllr Joe Goldberg said: “Haringey is facing the most savage cuts in the borough’s history. We are being made to cut too fast and too deep.

“We lobbied and will continue to fight for a fairer settlement for Haringey – already one of the most deprived boroughs in the country – but our pleas are being ignored. Instead, the government has prioritised more affluent areas, such as Richmond and Dorset.”

Council leader, Labour councillor Claire Kober, added: “We don’t want to salami-slice services to a point where quality collapses – we want to ensure that the services we offer remain of a high standard.

“We will do our best to prioritise services for the most vulnerable and those that matter most to Haringey residents. But the cuts imposed on us leave reductions in services unavoidable.”

But Lib Dem leader Cllr Robert Gorrie attacked the latest cuts, saying: “Labour are responsible for producing a rotund organisation that is not fit enough to meet the demands of the extremely challenging funding reductions.

“Labour’s failings have left residents and the services they value exposed to Labour cuts. The council must ensure that back office functions are reduced first before targeting front-line services.

“Labour will try to blame cuts to local services on the coalition government. Let’s be clear, the blame for a bad local decision, like closing our day centres, lies solely at the door of the Labour council.”

Where the axe will fall

o More than 1,000 staff will be axed -– the latest document outlines many of these posts.

o Cuts to early years and childcare services of �6.5million over the next two years will see the number of centres reduced and care targeted to the most vulnerable families.

o Reducing training for social workers will save �282,000 in 2011/12.

o Translation services have already been outsourced. But cutting the budget by 60 per cent will save �120,000 over the next financial year.

o The closure of Hornsey customer service centre near the town hall in Crouch End will save �130,000 over the next three years.

o The council’s call service will reduce its hours from 8am to 6pm to 9am to 5pm – saving �30,000 next year.

o Catering at Park Road pool will be franchised to a private company

o Leasing parks facilities to private companies could make �100,000 over three years, while reducing supervisory and support staff at green spaces will save �70,000 next year.

o Further parks staffing efficiencies could save �660,000 next year – but will lead to a 50 per cent reduction in maintenance regimes.

o Reducing books and staffing in libraries will save �200,000 in 2011/12.

o Increasing parking charges will net the council �1million by 2013.

o Cutting funding for extra Haringey police provision, an anti-burglary support project, domestic violence advocacy and victim support for young people will save �420,000 next year.

o Slashing the youth service budget will save �1.9million.