The state of pavements and the reduction in the library service are among factors being linked to residents’ loss of trust in Barnet Council.
The latest residents’ perception survey found that the proportion of people who think the council is trustworthy has fallen from 71 per cent to 61 per cent in six months.
Barnet’s opposition Labour Group are linking the fall to factors such as way the council is handling pavement repairs, and to public anger over the “massive cuts” to the libraries service.
Labour Group leader Councillor Barry Rawlings said: "I’m not surprised that there has been such a dramatic fall in trust. When we speak to residents on the doorstep we regularly hear how let down people feel by the Tories running Barnet Council.”
Barnet Council says the fall in trust is in line with a national trend, and it has highlighted other findings in the survey, including that 85 per cent of people are satisfied with living in Barnet and that 78 per cent say they think the council is doing a good job.
The survey also found that almost two-thirds of residents agree that the council provides good value for the council tax, and the same amount say it does a good job keeping people informed about what it’s doing.
The survey, carried out by an independent market research company last November, interviewed 504 residents from a cross-section of the population from across the borough.
People’s top three concerns were found to be a lack of affordable housing, the condition of the borough’s roads and pavements and crime.
Councillor Richard Cornelius, Leader of Barnet Council said: “The survey provides a crucial snapshot of how people feel about living in the borough and where we need to focus our efforts. We are tackling these head-on by building more affordable housing in the borough and by our continuing investment in our roads and pavements."
Compared to the previous survey in Spring 2016, all other core reputation trends, including satisfaction and value for money, remained constant, apart from trust.
In a separate survey, 500 young people aged between 11 and 18 were asked for their views, with 85 per cent saying they were happy living in Barnet and 85 per cent feeling Barnet is a place where people from different ethnic backgrounds get on well together. Crime is among the young people’s highest concern alongside a lack of jobs and a lack of recreational facilities.
Barnet Council says the library service cuts will save around £2 million a year from 2020 and points out that all the borough’s 14 libraries are being kept open. It is currently investing £8 million in a five-year scheme to revamp pavements.