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Dec 18 2013

Cllr Ferrari: Akhtar Seemingly “Not Read” Budget

cllr_tony_ferrariDear Editor,

I am the Finance Portfolio Holder on Harrow Council and it was my job to prepare the recent draft budget submitted to Cabinet and criticised by Cllr. Husain Akhtar (12th December). My day job is that of a school teacher and it is a big personal commitment to produce this budget. It gets a little frustrating when people, notably Cllr. Akhtar, criticise it whilst seemingly not having read it.

He has some sort of theme that this budget is taking away money from “the needy in our community”. We took control of the council just 12 weeks ago. It was not possible in the time until the budget had to be produced to rework everything. We therefore took the budget passed by Labour in February and improved it. It is worth noting that, at one stage, Cllr. Akhtar was part of the administration which passed that budget.

What we did was to take their budget made it better. We added £600,000 into care for the elderly and vulnerable, £300,000 to provide transport for children with special educational needs and added £500,000 for more social workers to work with children in difficult situations. Our administration’s priorities are Cleaner, Safer and Fairer and we mean all of them. We do not pontificate about “Fair”; we deliver hard cash to provide these services to “the needy in our community”.

I should also add we did this while locking parks that were to be left open, collecting uncollected dog waste and cleaning streets more often. How did we do this? By spending money more wisely. Whoever thought that providing iPads to all councillors will be disappointed that we cancelled that plan amongst many other wasteful expenditures.

And, as a final comment to Cllr. Akhtar; his comment that “residents did not mind paying a little extra in taxes” indicates that he must speak to different residents to the ones I speak to. We made all of our improvements to Labour’s budget (which included a 2% council tax increase again this year) while freezing council tax. It is possible; you just need to manage the money more wisely.

Yours,

Cllr. Tony Ferrari
Finance Portfolio Holder
Harrow Council

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1 comment

  1. Tom Miller (@TomMillerUK)

    Are we honestly to believe that 30 iPads can save £1,400,000 worth of money for spending elsewhere?

    TIme this lot told us what they’ll be cutting.

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