Mar 22 2013

Harrow Council Expecting Influx of Calls about Council Tax

cllr_paul_osbornPaul Osborn, shadow portfolio holder for Transformation, Performance and Communication writes:

Labour-run Harrow Council is gearing up for thousands of additional complaints to its call centre, as a result of Labour cutting over £750,000 from key frontline services like street cleaning and road maintenance over the next two years.

The administration had also planned to cut £200,000 over four years from the Access Harrow call centre – forcing all bin and street cleaning enquiries to be dealt with via an online form. However, Labour are now expecting so many residents to complain about the impact of their service cuts, that they’re planning to employ more people in the call centre to handle the extra workload. A question to portfolio holder Cllr. Graham Henson at a Cabinet meeting revealed that Labour are expecting a 10% increase in calls relating to ‘public realm’, as a result of these cuts.

For the Conservatives, Cllr. Paul Osborn, shadow portfolio holder for Transformation, Performance and Communication said: “A 10% increase would equate to over 2,000 additional calls over the first three months alone. Cllr. Henson insists these additional complaints will be short-term, and that call numbers will reduce after these three months, which is a questionable assumption at best.”

Cllr. Osborn explained: “All Harrow residents rely on these services – from bin collections, to road and park maintenance, to street cleaning. Cllr. Henson seems to think that residents will just get used to things being bad under Labour; that they’ll accept their bins not being emptied, their streets being dirty and their parks full of litter and dog waste. I don’t agree with that, and I think Harrow residents deserve better than to be told they care just as little about our borough’s appearance and environment as Labour seem to. Surely instead of spending all this money on dealing with complaints, they should spend the money on keeping the streets clean? That way people wouldn’t need to complain.”

Cllr. Osborn concluded: “That said, maybe Cllr. Henson is technically correct; perhaps fewer calls will be received after all because – thanks to Labour’s cuts – there won’t be anyone left around to answer the phones.”

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