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Jan 23 2014

Harrow Conservatives: Labour Reach a “new low” on Budget

conservative_logoDear Editor,

At every opportunity since we took control Labour have criticised us, claiming our consultation is lacking. We think this is a bit tongue in cheek. They consulted on libraries; almost everyone who responded to the consultation said do not outsource them, so Labour went ahead and outsourced our libraries. In Labour’s own “Lets Talk” consultation the people of Harrow said they wanted safer streets and less litter so Labour went ahead and cut the street cleaning budget and reduced the money for the Council-funded police team.

We think consultation is an important part of running a Council but once you have consulted people you need to get on and do something about it. That is why we listened to what residents had been trying to tell Labour and set Cleaner, Safer and Fairer as our priorities and then got on with them; by putting money into these vital areas. This is not lack of consultation, it is decisiveness.

It seems likely that Labour will submit an alternative budget to the Council meeting in February. With this budget they have reached a new low in say one thing and do another. Our budget has been consulted on and presented in draft to Cabinet. We appointed two Labour councillors and one Independent Labour councillor to Cabinet to ensure scrutiny of our proposals. They had the opportunity to comment on and criticise the draft. Our proposals then go to the cross party Overview and Scrutiny Committee where it will be forensically analysed. Then, next month, we will take a final draft to Cabinet where it can be scrutinised again. After that it will be presented to full Council where it will be debated for yet another time.

What process will the people of Harrow be offered to consider Labour’s alternative budget? None.

Labour will turn up on the night and put it forward and vote on it. If they win, the first time the people of Harrow find out how their money will be spent is when they read about it on iharrow.com.

We presented our plans, which include freezing council tax, more money on street cleaning and more money to social care, to the public to consider. Labour should do the same. It is rich to complain about a lack of consultation and then sneak through the most important document the Council will debate all year.

I say to Labour, by all means present a budget, but publish it first. Let the people of Harrow see what you are proposing and let them comment before you try to sneak it through in a late night vote.

Yours,

Cllr. Tony Ferrari
Portfolio Holder for Finance
Harrow Council

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