Senior Haringey councillors have approved the borough’s first council tax rise in nine years in a bid to raise funding for key spending pledges.

Cabinet members yesterday rubber-stamped plans for a 2.99 per cent council tax increase – a move that will add more than £38 a year to band D bills, pushing them up to £1,319.89.

The move is expected to bring in an extra £3 million a year for the council.

It will help to fund a benefits shake-up aimed at ensuring 6,000 of the borough’s low-income families do not have to pay any council tax from April 1.

Haringey Council will also pay all employees the London Living Wage – £10.55 an hour – and begin the roll-out of free school meals for every primary-school child.

Core council tax has been frozen by the local authority since 2009, but since then it has been hammered by years of funding cuts and increased strain on key services.

Like other local authorities, Haringey Council faces growing demand for social care, leading councillors to green-light an extra £7.8 million for adults’ services and £7m for children’s services – partly by writing off previously-agreed savings.

The budget plans include investment of around £1 billion in housing over five years – including a major housebuilding programme aimed at providing 1,000 more council-owned homes by 2022.

The extra investment in social homes came after the Government granted more powers for councils to borrow money for housing.

Cllr Patrick Berryman, cabinet member for finance, said the council had closed a £6.5 million budget gap after extra grant funding was provided by the Government to support social care.

It is also cutting management posts and planning to raise extra income from under-used spaces in buildings such as libraries.

But the local authority will still use £5.5m from its reserves to soften the impact of spending cuts – a move it admits is not sustainable in the long run.

Cllr Berryman said years of budget cuts had had a negative impact on residents’ quality of life and meant it had become harder for the council to deal with rising costs.

He added: “The removal of the HRA (housing revenue account) borrowing cap is very much welcome. It will help us to fulfil one of our key manifesto commitments.

“But there are still significant pressures. Next year is going to be hard again. We will have to have another consultation.”

Paul Burnham, secretary of Haringey Defend Council Housing, spoke out against plans to increase tenant service charges for council-owned properties.

He said “no explanation” had been provided for the rise and it had not been subject to a consultation.

Cllr Berryman said the rise would be used to increase the pay for concierges and improve street sweeping on estates.

He suggested the council could hold consultations on similar increases in the future.

The 2019-20 budget will now go to full council for approval.