Councils have focused on protecting essential services during a decade of austerity that has seen millions of pounds wiped off their budgets.

Barnet Council says it has protected adults’ and children’s services as much as possible from a £155 million spending reduction since 2010.

But it admitted facing a “tough financial period” ahead, with another £21 million of savings earmarked for the coming financial year as demand for services continues to grow.

Neighbouring Haringey has been forced to almost halve its staff numbers and has sold off 12 buildings after being hit by £122 million of funding cuts since 2010.

The borough, which has areas of high deprivation, also faces growing demand for adults’ and children’s services, along with financial pressure form services to prevent homelessness such as temporary accommodation.

Council tax in both boroughs could be set to rise during the next financial year in a bid to help plug their budget gaps.

A report published this week by think tank Centre for Cities showed London had seen the biggest absolute cut in spending since 2010, with £3.9 billion wiped off local authority budgets – 30 per cent of the national total.

Barnet and Haringey have both sought to make the council and outsourced services more efficient and have looked for other ways of raising income.

Barnet Council claimed an outsourcing deal with Capita, which was signed off in 2013, had led to £31 million of savings by 2016.

Enfield Independent:

But the council could bring some of the services back in house after several problems with contracts – including a damning report into a £2 million fraud by a former Capita contractor.

Haringey Council has faced criticism for embarking on major regeneration schemes that bring in money for the council but some fear could push poorer people out of the borough.

Both councils are building new homes to reduce the amount they pay to private landlords for temporary accommodation.

Haringey has launched an ambitious housebuilding programme and aims to provide 1,000 new council homes by 2022.

The borough currently has around 10,000 families on its waiting list for council accommodation.

Leader of Barnet Council Cllr Richard Cornelius said: “We are committed to protecting our most vulnerable residents, particularly younger people and older people.

“It is worth stressing, however, that we have the largest population of any London borough and are home to a higher percentage of 85-year-olds compared to the rest of the country, many of whom require care.

“This takes up a large amount of our budget – £90 million to be precise.

“We recently put forward a number of ways in which we can deliver further savings. The restructuring of the council’s senior management team will deliver an £850,000 saving, whilst also reducing the number of agency staff.

“After nearly a decade of freezing council tax, we recently consulted on a proposal to increase this by 2.99 per cent.

“This would generate an additional £5.1million in 2019-20 for services that support our residents, including care for the elderly and vulnerable adults, and children’s social care.”

Cllr Patrick Berryman, Haringey Council’s cabinet member for finance, said: “As a lifelong Haringey resident I can see the damage austerity has done to our borough.

“Many services we took for granted growing up are no longer provided and Haringey, like all London councils, faces huge ongoing financial challenges.

“Years of funding reductions by central government have forced us to make cuts and our workforce has been almost halved, at the same time as demand for our services continues to rise. There are no easy decisions left to make.

“Despite this, we are committed to protecting vital services as best we can, and ensuring the right support is there for the most vulnerable in our community – while at the same time fighting for proper funding for councils to do all the things local government are good at and that can have such a positive impact on lives.”

Enfield Council was also approached for comment.