It is some time since Brent Liberal Democrats have presented a formal alternative budget to that of the ruling Labour Party and even with a Liberal Democrat voted in at the Alperton by-election just over a year ago this is still the case and his proposals will not be voted on. Cllr Anton Georgiou will have just 3 minutes to speak at the Council Tax and Budget Setting Meeting at 4pm tomorrow. LINK TO LIVE BROADCAST
Brent Labour has 59 councillors to the Conservative's 3 and the lone Liberal Democrat so approval of the budget is a formality. However, in the interests of democracy (not because I approve of the proposals) I think it is right that residents should be able to see and discuss the alternative proposals. I published the Conservative proposals last week HERE.
Labour’s budget includes a Council Tax hike of 6%, 4.99% from Brent Council and a further approximately 1% from Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan. Cllr Georgiou, in his proposals, argues that this can be and should be halved.
Cllr Georgiou’s proposal also seeks to spend more money on the issues local people care about and invest in areas that will lessen the inequalities that have been exposed by the pandemic, particularly for Brent’s young people.
Cllr Georgiou said:
I represent Alperton, a ward that has been hit very hard by the pandemic. Many residents are really struggling right now which is why I am alarmed that the Labour Council have proposed to hike Council Tax by so much.
It is wrong to dump further financial burdens on local people, particularly when, as I outline in my proposals, money exists in the massive revenue reserves to halve the Council Tax rise. Brent residents have already paid for these reserves over the years, and it is impossible to justify asking them to pay even more when they don’t have to.
In addition to his plans to at least halve the Council Tax rise, Cllr Georgiou wants to see more money allocated to clean up Brent, to urgently repair pavements in small streets and overlooked areas and to make cycle routes safer.
Proposals in detail (click bottom right square for full page view)