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Haringey Council set to increase council tax by 2.99% in latest budget

PUBLISHED: 17:24 20 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:24 20 February 2019

Cllr Pat Berryman at a Haringey cabinet meeting in 2018. Picture: David Winskill

Cllr Pat Berryman at a Haringey cabinet meeting in 2018. Picture: David Winskill

Archant

Haringey Council is set to raise council tax for the first time in nearly a decade.

Its core tax has been frozen since 2009, but in the face of increasing demands and cuts from government, the council’s cabinet voted to increase it by 2.99per cent.

The move will bring in an extra £3million a year for the council. It will be put before a full council meeting on Monday.

Earlier this month the council voted to take 6,000 of the borough’s low-income families out of paying council tax.

At its meeting last week, the cabinet backed paying all employees the London Living Wage, and rolling out free school meals to every primary school child.

The budget includes £1billion for housebuilding.

The budget is Haringey Council’s first since Cllr Joseph Ejiofor took over as leader after last year’s election. His finance chief Pat Berryman told the Ham&High it had been a “very large scale, complex” project.

Cllr Berryman took on the post last May, after four years on the backbenches.

“There’s a lot to learn, despite time scrutinising things like this in committees as a backbencher,” he said.

The Bounds Green councillor and former financial markets worker said the council had to be more “creative” in where to save money.

He said: “It’s a stressful position if you actually care about what happens to services. In a world where we have had eight years of austerity, the process is to find the way to reduce the budget because we’ve got less money.”

He said Haringey was also in a poorer position as it didn’t get the same business rates yield as Camden or Westminster, and the revenue support grant has also been cut.

“I am proud of what we have put into place from our manifesto,” he said. “The lifting of the Housing Revenue Cap, along with money from City Hall, has made our house building ambitions work. I’m really pleased we’ve been able to fulfil our pledge on the council tax reduction scheme as well, where 6,000 families on the lowest income will be better off.”

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