Dec 13 2013

Independent Labour: Tory Budget “full of gimmicks, hot air and spin”

ilg_roseHarrow’s Independent Labour Group have sent the following press release concerning the Conservative’s Budget for next year.

The so-called ‘gimmick-free’ Tory budget – agreed by Tory administration at last night’s Cabinet meeting – has forgotten Tory values and is “full of gimmicks, hot air and spin”

  • Gimmick 1: Recycled Figures – This budget is full of recycled figures and takes credit for bold decisions made by the Independent Labour Group (ILG). For example, the ILG decisions to keep our cemeteries and parks locked at night and returning dog litter bins – reversing previous Labour Party decisions.
  • Gimmick 2: Double counting – The decision to invest £500 000 in 12 social workers has already been made as well as investing £300 000 in Special Needs Transport. There are no new ideas in the Tory budget.
  • Gimmick 3: No Vision ‘unfair’ budget – Tories are running the Council budget like a defective family budget that they barely understand: just as a family borrows to buy a house over at least 25 years, sensible Councils borrow intelligently to invest for the public good – long term thinking is required. For example, when interest rates are low it makes sense to borrow over 50 or 70 years to deal with the housing problem so the children of our Tax Payers can live in the borough and help create strong and stable communities.
  • Gimmick 4: Focusing on ‘cleaning targets’ is a false economy and race to the bottom – The Tory budget proposes to spend £400k on their “cleaner” agenda. We all want to see Harrow clean but the Tory strategy and execution is plain wrong. Their budget takes from the most vulnerable to invest in their “cleaner” priority, attempting to create a clean borough where the vulnerable suffer in silence. The cleaning budget is a “bottomless pit” and it therefore makes sense to address the behaviour which leads to an unacceptably dirty borough – not short term gimmicks. This is a Tory Budget which simply wishes to throw Tax Payers’ money at problems to gain publicity and personal popularity, without offering a real solution. This budget seems to have forgotten Tory values such as spending wisely and providing value for money.
  • Gimmick 5: Investment in planning enforcement is long overdue and we welcome this. However to link this to ‘Beds in Sheds’ is absurd. There is a four-year planning rule which means properties cannot be demolished after that period. More planning enforcement cannot deal with ‘beds in sheds’ unless we deal with the shortage of affordable housing which leads to people accepting ‘beds in sheds’. Unfortunately, this is another gimmick. 
  • Gimmick 6: Making residents pay for parking at leisure centres, when families are struggling and we want people to use our leisure centres is “absolute madness”. With this proposal, the policy of promoting physical activity through affordable leisure provision will fail under this Tory Administration by penalising people who are already suffering due to stagnating wages, declining living standards and increased costs of making ends meet.

OUR ALTERNATIVE ECONOMIC VISION FOR HARROW: We would freeze Council Tax in 2015/16 and avoid the piecemeal approach by keeping the £2 million investment in the Council budget in 2014/15.

At a time when the cuts are about to affect families, it does not make sense to remove the lifeline in the budget. We must be financially robust and responsible but financial competence means we need to invest sensibly with a clear return on our investment, revitalise our local economy and revive our high streets and local shopping  parades. We need to provide hope to our young people instead of cutting help to the vulnerable and sinking money in an ineffective ‘cleaner’ agenda. The NHS was founded in 1948, 3 years after the 2nd World War when the nation had no money, because politicians had the vision to invest in the nation’s health. Council housing was created when the nation was on its knees because substandard housing was not acceptable for our residents. It takes a vision for the future and courage to make a difference. 

Our costed, gimmick-free, alternative budget will be provided at our Press Conference.

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  1. packyourbags

    As the ILG don’t even have enough members to front a football team what is the point of having a budget when your never going to get anywhere near putting it into place. You can promise the Earth but it’s meaningless.

    Might as well pack your bags and go home now.

    Merry Christmas

  2. Cllr Willy Stoodley

    Well how wrong you are “packyourbags” – if the ILG don’t like that budget we won’t vote for it, which means it doesn’t get enacted and the Director of Finance takes over the council. You don’t need to be the size of a football team to pack a big punch…

    Merry Christmas 🙂

  3. packyourbags

    Nice one Willy ! – Looks like the ILG will just continue to play their games to disrupt the whole council then doesn’t it? You can’t actually put anything in place yourselves so you might as well just disrupt everything anyone else tries to do – is that your game ?

    That’s going to really help the residents if the Director of Finance takes over the role – what does he do ? Impose a budget that no one agrees on ?

    In fact, if a departmental Director takes over when the council can’t agree on anything you might as well let them all just take over now – that will save a shed load on money on councillors and even free up some space in the Civic Centre for more schools to move in !

  4. John Clement

    Harrows main problem is over population, try getting a doctors or hospital appointment or getting on a bus. too many people are gobbling up expensive public resources without making a contribution to culture, society or the community. We need to change medieval attitudes to birth control, based on bigotry and ignorance, and families paid for by benefits funded by the hard working.Too many people see Harrow as a freebie gravy train without making a contribution, or without even being good neighbours.

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