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Feb 13 2013

Hall vs Shah – Local Councillors Debate Budget on HCR FM

harrow_community_radioLocal community radio station, HCR, was the battlefield for a head-to-head between Cllr Sachin Shah (Labour, Queensbury) the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Cllr Susan Hall (Conservative, Hatch End) for a full-on debate on the Council Tax increase announced by Harrow Council recently.

Blaming the Government, Cllr Shah said that “Labour will focus on the long term, whereas the Conservatives only look at the short term” – a claim refuted as “outrageous” by Cllr Hall. Continuing by saying she was “miffed”, she pointed out that Cllr Shah’s administration had turned down £1m, that could have funded front-line services.

Host Adam Allinson asked about Harrow Arts Centre, to which Cllr Shah said it needed to be more commercial, and that it needed to pay for itself. In a carefully-prompted question on Twitter, Cllr Shah leapt at the chance to say that Council had worked with Harrow Young Musicians, and that they wouldn’t snatch away the £58,000 grant they’d previously been receiving. Flustering, Cllr Shah couldn’t remember the exact terms of the HYM grant, but did say that the £58,000 cut was a “bridge too far” as they are a “listening administration.”

[pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]A “Pay More, Get Less” Budget – Cllr Susan Hall[/pullquote]

“The devil is in the detail” of the budget, said Cllr Hall, “Knocking £350,000 off the Public Realm budget will leave only around 15 people to deal with the wonderful parks we have.” She continued, “It’s shocking!”

On Public Realm, Cllr Hall said that “Street cleaning will move from 4-week to 6-week pattern, a graffiti removing vehicle will be axed, parks will be unlocked at night – these are things that residents care about,” she said.

Cllr Shah, metaphorical dagger in hand, replied that this is normal for Cllr Hall: to only look at how bad things are, and not say what she’d do instead. That she doesn’t have any idea what she’d do, and that Labour have had to clean up the issues left from when the Tories ran the council.

“Outrageous!” she responded. “There’s money coming off from trading standards – and we don’t know what Labour are doing with that. The administration will not release all the options until after the budget, but because they aren’t shared, it’s not possible to provide all the options developed by Council Officers.”

Throwing fuel onto the already fuming Cllr Hall, Cllr Shah said that the Conservatives don’t have any ideas, which prompted a sharp reminder that the Conservatives had introduced Neighbourhood Champion and Weeks of Action. Likewise graffiti removal, vehicle branding. “What,” she thrust, “ideas have Labour had? Only the ‘Harrow Card’ which has half a million pounds set aside for it, no idea what it’ll cost to run, no idea how many members of staff will be needed to implement it, what it’ll cost – yet the frontline services are being cut. The borough will become filthy.”

You can listen to the whole debate on Harrow Community Radio’s Listen Again service, here.

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1 comment

  1. Jeremy Zeid HARROW UKIP

    Well done Susan for giving Sachin Shah a walloping. Listening to him is like being stuck in a room with a scratched record playing an ever repeating recording of a parrot with Tourettes, whining and bleating about the “cuts”… Its the cuts, it’s the cuts AAAAAWWWWWKKKK, Polly wanna cracker, the cuts AAAAAWWWWWKKKK.

    Let me remind readers and Cllr Polly Parrot that when I was on the Council between 2006-10, it had been left all but bankrupt by surnamesake, Cllr Navin Shah aka “Mogadon Man” the one man cure for insomnia.

    Despite the huge hole in the finances, we got the Borough on its feet and vastly improved frontline services and staff security and tha twas under a labour government and even worse grant settlements.

    But its the “Cuts”, AAAAAWWWWWWWKKKKKK! No its the INCOMPETENTS runing the show who not only cannot balance achequebook, but are free and easy bribing their favoured client-groups with OUR money to buy Labour votes. But it’s the “Cuts”, AAAAAAWWWWWWWKKKKK, Polly wanna cracker!!! IT’S PATHETIC.

    In the meantime there seems to be no difficulty finding FORTY THREE GRAND to tart up the Commissars’ Offices, while our “Sach” bleats about the “cuts”.

    Merton Council, Labour controlled, has far more problems and deprivation than Harrow, gets £50 per head LESS than Harrow, and has frozen Council Tax, balanced the books and maintained services… But it’s the “cuts” AAAAAAAWWWWWWKKKKK!!!

    Did you know that LABOUR, the Party of the “workers” have axed wages and allowances for the people working at the tip?? Axed weekend payments, the lot, a £90 cut in their wages, and yet they found FORTY FIVE GRAND for their offices, a fancy glass wall at THIRTEEN GRAND (must be made of hand cut Bohemian Crystalfor that money) and THITY GRAND to plumb in a water supply. Presumably this must be direct from the Vatican, an endless supply of Holy Water to was away and absolve them from any sense of shame or guilt.

    But “It’s the “cuts” AAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWKKKKK. Now that’s what I call a Dead Parrot.

    Do you know, that a prominent member of the Labour Party despairs at the Harrow Labour “Group”, stating to me that they are “devoid of principles, directionless and ideologically bankrupt”. I’d add morally and financially to the last word.

    I hope they are given a real walloping at the West Harrow by-election….

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