As extreme weather continued to batter the borough this week, Barnet Council rejected claims it is going to cut funding to crucial winter services.

Further snow-falls, torrential rain and strong winds caused disruption to commuters, schools and refuse collections, sparking criticism from opposition councillors that stringent contingency plans were not in place.

Councillors also claimed the “inadequate response” could be made worse in the future by proposals announced last month in the budget headlines report to slash £100,000 from the winter maintenance budget.

A spokeswoman for the Barnet Labour group said many residents were left stranded after bus services were cancelled for a day due to poor gritting of roads around bus depots during the worst of the blizzards.

She said: “Pavements and roads remained treacherous for days, with council workers struggling just to clear main routes, even after drafting in extra workers at the last minute.”

Labour’s environment and transport spokeswoman, councillor Kath McGuirk said: “Clearly the current budget for winter maintenance is not adequate to deal with these cold snaps, so the idea that you could remove £100,000 from the service is bonkers.”

But a council spokesman said cuts to the winter budget would not impede their services during adverse weather.

When severe conditions did occur, he added, the cost of dealing with the effects are taken from a separate emergency budget.

He explained: “The cost of additional staffing, overtime and grit supplies over and above what are routinely budgeted for are paid from a central contingency fund.”

The winter maintenance covers work undertaken on the roads over winter months, he added, and does not come from funds to help the council cope with unexpected and extreme events.

He said: “The council has no plans to cut the amount spent on winter maintenance provision across the borough.

“Savings identified in the budget headlines for the next financial year relate to amounts not spent on maintenance works this year. The amounts of grit purchased and staffing levels will not decrease at all.

“No cap was placed on expenditure from this contingency fund in relation to our gritting operation to ensure all that could be done in the face of an exceptional weather event was done by council staff.”

As well as transport delays, rubbish collections were cancelled on many routes leading to a build-up of waste in many private and commercial bins in the area.

Extra collection dates were added, and staff were forced to work over the weekend to help clear the backlog.

Ms McGurik has tabled a member’s item to be heard at the cleaner, greener, transport and development overview and scrutiny committee meeting on Monday to discuss “the gritting situation and lessons to be learned”.

But the council spokesman defended its response, claiming the council had been praised by transport chiefs for its efforts.

“Gritting teams worked around the clock to keep the borough moving and, given the further snow fall, environment and transport staff were joined by other council employees who volunteered to assist with manually clearing routes across the borough,” he said.

“This made best use of our human resources, providing the best possible service to residents.”