This Thursday, 1st March, the Tory administration on Redbridge Council will formally present their Budget and Council Tax proposals for 2007/8 to Full Council.Labour Group Leader, Elaine Norman, says, â€œThe whole Tory budget process has been an exercise in cynicism. They have ignored their own budget consultation, reneged on their own manifesto commitments and, at the eleventh hour, come up with a cynical saving option to cut local area committees budgets by some Â£175,000! Were they afraid to consult the public on this? What value their consultation on cuts to home care? Labour will not support the arrogance of this administration and their complete disregard of public opinion.â€
â€œNo doubt the Tories will use their propaganda sheet â€œThe Redbridge Lifeâ€ to crow about their new three star ratingâ€ says Deputy Labour Leader, Cllr Bob Littlewood. â€œNo doubt at the Council meeting they will repeat the mantra, â€œItâ€™s a budget for the whole Boroughâ€ .No doubt they will blame Ken Livingstone, the Government and anyone else they can think of , apart from themselves, of course, for making cuts in Redbridge services. No doubt they will again talk about the good things in their capital programme
The facts are:
- They have ignored their own public consultation results by:
- slashing home care for elderly people
- reducing spending on crime protection against the advice of their own officersâ€™ and the Police Borough Commander
- ignoring their own expert officers by putting off improvements in street cleansing
- The Budget cuts will have a disproportionate effect on South Ilford. While Gants Hill and Barkingside get a makeover (no problem here), the environment in a number of neighbourhoods in the South is fast deteriorating and crime and anti-social behaviour are a growing concern.
And while they propose to increase spending on Redbridge Life, they are also cutting out some of the money spent on advertising and publicity for Area Committee meetings. It seems that they want to use the Redbridge Life to tell us how wonderful things are in Redbridge and simultaneously to squash criticism.
A Brighter Future? Part of the budget making process is about future capital spending. The Tories are always boasting about what their grand plans for the future are: New Schools. New Sports Centres, Road improvements, Redevelopment of Ilford Town Centre. Â£ millions to be spent in the future with money the Council hasnâ€™t actually got! Â£ millions that can only come from the sale of Council land, decisions on which are on-going and being taken in secret.
Who is to say how much extra housing we will be forced to accept in the South of Ilford, how many allotments we will lose? And whereâ€™s the guarantee that the money raised will finance such things as the much needed sports centre and pool? There is no guarantee, as long as the process is secret.
But you can guarantee that the Redbridge Life will hail every decision as good â€œfor the whole Boroughâ€!