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Protesters arrested at Haringey council cuts meeting

Protesters at Haringey
Image caption Protesters gathered outside Haringey civic centre

Two men have been arrested after protesters stormed a council budget meeting in north London.

About 70 people gathered outside and 20 of them forced entry into the Wood Green civic centre, in Haringey, at about 1920 GMT on Thursday.

Councillors in Labour-run Haringey approved £84m cuts from a total budget of £273m over the next three years.

More than 1,000 jobs will be lost, from a total of 4,500 staff, as a result of the spending cuts.

Services for young people and elderly people will be scaled back, and less money will be spent on libraries and leisure centres.

The council said its biggest cuts - worth £46m - would take place in 2011-12.

'Hammer blow'

Police arrested two men, aged 34 and 39, for assault on a police officer and breach of the peace. They remained in custody on Friday morning.

Labour council leader Claire Kober said: "The government cuts are a hammer blow to the people of Haringey, particularly as we are already one of the most deprived boroughs in the country.

"The sheer scale of the cuts we are being forced to make will undoubtedly now have a detrimental effect on vital services, and on the people of Haringey.

"We don't want to make these cuts, and will try to safeguard services wherever possible, but the government has left us with no choice as we have to balance the budget."

Haringey deputy Liberal Democrat leader Richard Wilson said: "The cuts were in the wrong places targeted at services for the most vulnerable.

"There should have been more cuts to the £16.5m budget for IT services, the £2m spent on communications and to senior management posts."

Meanwhile, Ms Kober said the borough had opened discussions with neighbouring Waltham Forest Council about the possibility of sharing some services, including legal services and school meals.

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