Social care funding and council tax freeze: budget proposals
A dedicated charge to help meet spiralling social care costs in Haringey is to be added to council tax bills under proposals put forward by the council’s cabinet.
Cabinet last night (14 February) recommended that the Government’s three percent social care levy be added to bills this year and next, bringing in an additional £2.7milllion per year that would be ring-fenced for caring for vulnerable people in the borough.
The council’s share of the general council tax bill – which helps fund a huge range of services from parks and libraries to roads and recycling – will remain frozen for the eighth consecutive year as part of Haringey’s ongoing commitment to supporting local families and helping to ease the pressure on rising household costs.
Other budget recommendations made by Cabinet include:
- £2million investment in libraries, shelving an earlier suggestion to reduce opening hours
- £4million investment in roads and pavements across the borough
- £1.8million for aids and adaptations to support elderly and disabled residents
- £200,000 for outdoor gyms to help more people to live healthily
The budget also shows how the council will try to make £20million savings in the face of ongoing funding cuts by central government, which have seen the council’s spending power slashed by 40 percent in real terms since 2010.
The recommendations, which will go before Full Council for a final decision on Monday 27 February, follow a public consultation that saw residents share their views on spending priorities in the borough.
Cllr Jason Arthur, Haringey Council Cabinet Member for Finance and Health, said:
“We’ve recommended that the government’s social care levy be added to council tax bills in Haringey, but we need to be clear that this additional funding will be a drop in the ocean. While the government has cut our budget year-on-year, we have seen an unprecedented increase in cost and demand for services for the most vulnerable residents in our borough.
“We’ve decided to continue to freeze our share of the council tax bill because we know that any additional increase would heap further pressure on people with lower incomes, many of whom are already feeling the impact of increasing living costs.
“We’ve listened closely to what local people have told us, which is why our proposals include a commitment to maintaining current opening hours at our libraries and investment in further library improvements, alongside funding for roads, pavements and leisure.
“The £20 million savings forced on us mean we face some very difficult decisions, but we remain determined to do everything we can to protect the frontline services that residents most depend on. That’s why roughly half of the proposed savings will come from central overhead budgets, including cutting the cost of senior management.”
Once the budget has been set by Full Council, there will be further consultation on individual savings proposals that will impact on local residents or businesses.
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