Harrow Council plans to make almost £4 million worth of cuts and increase council tax by almost four per cent in order to achieve a balanced budget for next year.

Its cabinet approved the budget for 2020/21 on Thursday (February 13) and explained that the proposals will be put before full council in two weeks’ time.

Around £3.8 million worth of savings are planned across various departments, including cuts to some children’s services, a review of the borough’s library services, and staff reductions.

At a previous presentation of the draft budget, Cllr Adam Swersky, responsible for finance at Harrow Council, described the council tax increase as a “necessity”, noting the consistent reduction in government funding as a key contributing factor.

“Austerity is not over, and local government is not benefiting from any reversal of government cuts,” he said.

“The Government needs to bite the bullet and finally look to solve the funding crisis and we will support them if they try to.

“Increasing council tax is the last resort but, at this stage, it is impossible to balance the budget without doing so.”

There are funding gaps anticipated for the two years after next with the council facing shortfalls of roughly £15 million and £9 million for 2021/22 and 2022/23 respectively.

Cllr Swersky described the outlook as “extremely difficult” in the face of “a lack of government support, inflationary challenges and increased demand”.

But he said the council would “continue to support those in need” and voice its opinion about the “long-term crisis of council funding”.