On Monday 25 February 2019, there was a Full Council Meeting in which the budget for 2019/20 was approved. Despite the deep austerity cuts, I am pleased that we agreed a budget with many progressive measures such as an extension of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme so that the poorest in our society do not pay any council tax at all. I spoke during the budget making session. Below is my speech.
“Madam Mayor, I am pleased to support the first budget of this Labour administration.
Haringey has seen its funding cut by over 60% in real terms since 2010 as the Conservatives and the Lib Dems – the Con Dem alliance – condemned us to years of austerity by wielding the axe on local government funding.
This evening, I want to talk about some of the progressive measures we are taking in this budget.
I am really pleased that we are announcing a pilot scheme to provide free school meals to primary school children.
When I first got elected as a Cllr for Noel Park, I received a number of post cards from children at Noel Park Primary School. On the post cards, they drew beautiful little pictures of different types of food that they would like to feed their friends, those from families with no recourse to public funds. As you know, children from families with no recourse to public funds are not entitled to free school meals. So, the children from Noel Park Primary School were appealing to me and my Cllr colleagues to provide free school meals to all their friends. This was probably the first time that these young citizens were lobbying politicians.
And I am really pleased to say that I can go back to those children and tell them that we are putting in place steps through our pilot scheme to provide free school meals to all children including those from families with no recourse to public funds.This demonstrates this Council’s commitment to achieving a fairer Haringey.
The second measure that I am particularly pleased about is the Council Tax Reduction Scheme which will help 6,000 of the poorest families in Haringey of those 3,000 families will have to pay no council tax whatsoever.
This will be welcome by constituents in my ward, Noel Park at a time when the very poorest in our society are feeling the pinch with deep benefit cuts, introduction of universal credit and rising levels of child poverty and in-work poverty.This measure will also go some way to make Haringey a fairer place for all our residents.
I am delighted that we are investing in our youth services, building new council houses and putting in place measures to support the poorest and the most disadvantaged in our borough.”