Friday 20 February 2015

Powney: Cabinet's 'blatant disregard makes everyone involved look ridiculous'

Front page of this week's Kilburn Times

Former councllor James Powney takes up the issue of the Labour Group vote in favour of a Council Tax rise, and the leadership's decision to ignore the vote in his blog LINK

Cllr John Duffy has made a formal complaint to the Coinstiutional officer of the Labour Party over the issue.

This is what James Powney said:

Reports of the discussion of Council Tax increases cause me some embarrassment as a member of the Labour Party.  It seems that the Labour Group debated and voted on the issue, deciding in favour of a rise just short of what would trigger a referendum.  This seems eminently sensible to me for reasons I have explained

It now appears that the Executive plan to simply ignore the majority of the Group, and freeze the Council Tax.  I have never heard of such a thing in Brent or in any other authority, or indeed any other party.  Such blatant disregard makes everyone involved look ridiculous.

It is normal for Budgets to be subject to Group whipping, but since the majority voted in favour of an increase, I would have thought the Labour whip is in favour of the increase rather than against it.


Anonymous said...

Martin - what is the Green's position on Council Tax increases?

Anonymous said...

Although I do agree with him on this occassion, James Powney is the world's expert on looking ridiculous

Martin Francis said...

The Brent Green Party hasn't reached a formal positon, although it will make a good topic for debate at our meeting next Friday. At the Civic Centre budget forum I spoke personally in favour of a debate on an increase and what it could achieve. I believe any increase should be combined with adjustments to Council Tax support so that the least well off do not suffer.

You probably have in mind the Brighton Green's debate over a larger increase that would trigger a referendum. There the council set out the services that could be saved by such an increase. It would be the first time Pickles' referendum has been triggered.

Anonymous said...

What are Labour doing ?

Even national they are alienating the traditionalistes heartland of votérs

Labour now seem super obsessive with Cuts to prove they could manage thé economy better than Tories, when in fact countries such as Greece have totally rejected "Cuts"

Labour will see at thé ballot box thé big mistake they have made and how utterly disappointed thé hiring public is with Labour.

Anonymous said...

Could James Powney run as a Green candidate?

Anonymous said...

When even James Powney can pour scorn on your politics, you know your back is against the wall.

Anonymous said...

Great timing Butt and Pavey! What better moment to (continue to) embarrass your party than 10 weeks before a close fought national election?
I hope you don't have any illusions about entering national Labour politics any time soon.

Paul Lorber said...

Powney is wrong to suggest that the 'Executive' plan to Freeze the Council Tax - they can only recommend. Setting the Council Tax is one of the few matters that the so called Blair reforms left for the full Council to decide on. The decision has to be made by full Council of 63 Councillors in March and it is open to any member of the Council to propose amendments to the Executive recommendation and vote accordingly. The net gain over two years of two successive increases of 1.99% is around £3.4 million (in round figures the Council would gain £800,000 in 2015/16, £2.6 million in 2016/17 and assuming No increase in 2017/17 it would still have £3.4 million of extra income in that year and all subsequent years). It is enough to save Stonebridge Adventure Playground, the Lollipops, the Libraries book fund and some other services.
Paul Lorber

Anonymous said...

It's beggar's belief that this sort of thing can actually take place. Never mind that it is apparently taking place in Brent. There is a democratic process and it ought to be followed. 56 labour cllrs sit in Brent. Not 2 plus 54 empty seats. If cllrs countinue to show blatent disregard for the people, and ulterior motives, it will be almost impossible to repair the disconnect. It's no wonder people become disillusioned with politics and politicians. There appears to be no one group or party in Brent that actually does represent the people of Brent. Shame on you, shame, shame, shame on the lot of you.

Anonymous said...

Make Kensal Green.

Anonymous said...

Please do not forget Cllr Butt was Deputy Leader, Cllr Ruth Moher and Cllr George Crane were all members of the Executive who approved closure of the 6 Brent Libraries, then in full council Labour Cllrs rubber stamped that decision. Did any Labour Cllr opposed the closure of the libraries. Cllr Ann John and Cllr James Powney were punished but others who were involved in the closures gave themselves a promotion. Council sold Tokyngton Library to the Islamic Centre (where on and off Cllr Butt was a trustee). Cllr Butt, Christine Gilbert, Carla Dawana and former senior officer of the Council Fionna Ledden, do they work for the interest of the Brent residents? those who believe they do living in fools paradise. None of them are effected with closures of the Libraries, cuts to front line services they will be getting their salaries/allowance and we have to pay for them with no accountability.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of repeating myself, I will "copy and paste" here a short extract from another comment I made on a recent blog:

When Muhammed Butt was elected Leader in May 2012 he told the Brent & Kilburn Times: 'I want better relationships between front and backbenchers so everyone has an input in decisions.'

Philip Grant.

Anonymous said...

'I couldn't waste any time having internal arguments'. Thatcher referring to future cabinet discussions a few weeks before the 1979 election.

May she rot in that especially hot room in hell reserved for Tories of her kind. But I know who I'd rather trust in an 'I-give-you-my-word' competition.

Mike Hine

Anonymous said...

Council sold Tokyngton Library to the Islamic Centre (where on and off Cllr Butt was a trustee). Re this statement from 11;02 surely there are legal ramifications if this is the case, seeing as Butt would have inside information.

Martin Francis said...

I covered this at the time (February 2013) when the Executive made the decision on the sale Cllr Butt declared an interest and left the meeting.

There was an attempt from the public gallery to make a statement but this was not allowed.