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Jan 29 2013

Labour’s Council Tax Benefit Vote: ‘outrageous’ and ‘sleazy’ say Tories

susan_hall_150x150On January 26, 2013, we published an article written by Harrow’s Labour group, announcing how their Council Tax Benefits would “…protect and support entitlements for disabled people in Harrow.” Naturally, there are two sides to the story, and the Harrow Conservative group, incensed by the way that Labour changed their voting rules to win their preferred option, have forward the following statement.

If Labour are going to start making things up, we’d hope that they can do it in a less embarrassing, shameful and, frankly, unimaginative way in future.

In January 2013, Labour is condemning as ‘outrageous’ some simple ‘proposals put forward by Conservative councillors.’  Yet, just a month ago, Labour voted – unanimously – to adopt these same proposals at December’s Standards Committee meeting. So, were these proposals somehow less ‘outrageous’ when Labour was actually voting for them?

And what were these simple proposals that the Conservatives put forward – and Labour supported last December?  Merely that those councillors in receipt of council tax benefit should not be allowed to vote at January’s full council meeting when it came to deciding which one of several different local council tax benefit schemes that Harrow Council should establish.  Why?  Because the choice of scheme would dictate how much council tax people on this benefit would have to pay; different schemes would affect people differently, depending on their personal circumstances – and we didn’t want it said that one scheme was chosen over another merely because it suited the personal interests of this or that councillor, rather than being chosen dispassionately for the public good of the borough.

And, once again, Labour voted unanimously for this simple proposal back in December; and Labour could have easily defeated it had they all voted against it.

But what difference a month makes. Between December’s Standards Committee and January’s Council meeting: one Labour councillor, the former Portfolio Holder for Children, Schools and Families, accepted a police caution for possession of indecent images of children, was placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for 2 years, and resigned as a councillor; and another Labour councillor was convicted of two counts of attempted fraud/theft against a vulnerable resident, and sentenced to two 10 week jail terms, suspended for a year, and an evening curfew.

Going into January’s Council meeting, Labour were at least two down on their numbers – and that’s before adding in those councillors caught up by December’s Standards Committee’s ban on councillors in receipt of council tax benefit voting for which scheme to implement!  So, suddenly, the possibility of losing the vote became a real concern.

Labour’s solution to this democratic ‘problem’ was to hold a last-minute Standards Committee meeting in the middle of January’s snowstorm, and to use their built-in majority on this Committee to overturn the ban on voting at the January Council meeting by those who claim council tax benefit. 

Not content with this, Labour then actually voted to keep secret which councillors would be voting while claiming this benefit, so residents will never know. We think that this is ‘outrageous’.

Labour might try and smear us.  Labour might try to profess their righteousness over this as much as they want. However, the simple fact is that until two Labour councillors were prevented from attending January’s Council meeting after confessing to crimes against vulnerable people, Labour fully agreed with our simple proposals.

Labour cares nothing for democracy, for integrity, or for moral leadership.  What Labour did was nothing to do with preserving democracy or helping the vulnerable; it was about cynically back-tracking on a sensible, cross-party decision made to protect the integrity of Harrow’s local democracy to cover for Labour’s own sleaze.  How can Cllr. Idaikkadar claim to be ‘proud’ of Labour’s moral bankruptcy?

For more information, see here – http://www.harrowconservatives.com/working4u/2013/01/scandal-hit-labour-secretly-change-rules-to-assure-vote-win/

No doubt, this will continue to run…

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