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Dec 07 2012

Susan Says: Harrow Council’s Budget – Built on Sand?

Harrow Council’s Labour administration is to dramatically slash the budget for environment and public realm services, according to their draft budget for 2013-14. The proposed budget includes over £2 million of individual cuts and service reductions – on top of an already agreed restructure of the service (PRISM), which is intended to cut £1.5 million from the budget.

The service cuts have been condemned by Cllr. Susan Hall, Leader of the Conservative Group, who said: “Public realm is the area of council services which affects every single resident in Harrow, and they don’t deserve to see them cut whenever Labour are looking to make savings. It covers everything from bin collections, to road and park maintenance, to street cleaning – and Labour are taking the axe to these services.

[pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]… it looks more and more as though Labour have built their budget on sand.[/pullquote]

Cllr. Hall continued: “The cuts proposed include £673,000 in general ‘public realm service reductions’ and £273,000 off the highways maintenance budget. Frustratingly, the background documents on the budget Labour have provided give us no insight into what specific services will be affected, so I will be asking a number of questions at Cabinet next week to get some answers on what’s being cut.”

Cllr. Hall concluded: “Cllr. Sachin Shah, the portfolio holder for Finance, bizarrely claimed that the council tax increase proposed in his own budget was simply an ‘unfounded rumour’. I find myself hoping that some of these proposed cuts are also unfounded rumours, because it’s residents who will suffer if these cuts go through. And if so many of the budget’s assumptions are indeed ‘unfounded rumours’, it looks more and more as though Labour have built their budget on sand.”

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