Wednesday 7 December 2011

Doing the Coalition's Dirty Work?

An improvement in Brent Council's collection rate for 2011-12, partly due to more people using direct debits, means that it will have a surplus of £1m on its collection account at the end of this financial year. Last year there was a loss of £1.3m at the end of the financial year. Brent's share of the £1m  surplus will be £776,000 which can be used for services that otherwise would have had to be cut.

Meanwhile I look forward to hearing how the Council is intending to consult on this year's budget. Its Report tabled at the November 21st Council meeting stated:
Late December: Consultation with residents, businesses, voluntary sector, partner agencies and trade unions on budget proposals.
As I have suggested previously it would be much better if the Council worked with local people to construct a 'needs budget' that would set out what the Council needs to provide effective services for the people of Brent. This could then be used as a campaigning tool to bring councillors and citizens together.

It was interesting to read the comment in last week's New Statesman by Sally Gimson.  Gimson won the Highgate by-election for  Labour  two and a half months ago again despite a strong showing by the Greens. She wrote:
We have been elected by the people of Camden to protect them against the worst of Tory/Lib Dem excesses, but I wonder now I've got here whether we may just be forced to do their dirty work.

The Schools Forum will tonight be agreeing funding principles and discussing budget issues against the background of more schools considering academy conversion.

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