Sunday 21 February 2021

Brent Lib Dem councillor puts forward alternative proposals before Monday's Budget setting meeting

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)





Anonymous said...

This is very last minute

Anonymous said...

Is there a link to the council’s website similar to that you’ve used for the Conservative’s proposals?

This version doesn’t have the official commentary stating whether or not it’s viable and/or legal.

Anonymous said...

Where is that £3.9m CT saving coming from?

He’s sticking with the 3% increase for ASC, and he can’t do anything about the GLA precept.

Scrapping the discretionary 1.99% element only changes things by £2.7m.

Martin Francis said...

Anonymous 21 February 20:28 As Anton is a lone councillor and does nt qualify as a group he is not entitled to formal officer support on his propsoals as I understand it. Limitd to a 3 min speech.

Anonymous said...

Can you confirm that, please? The officer support bit, not speech length. Would be shockingly anti-democratic to deny an elected rep professional advice on the basis of their being a one-person operation. Do you know if AG has actually asked the CEO or FD?

Anonymous said...

That helps him, doesn’t it (budget-wise, not credibility)? Less of a deficit to fill with those mythical reserves?

Paul Lorber said...

Where is the £3.9 million savings asks one of the anonymous correspondents suggesting that you cannot do anything about the additional burden from the Labour Mayor equal to a 9.5% rise in the mayor's share which adds just under 1% to the overall.

How it is achieved is all set out on the proposal as reprinted by Martin.

I just highlight one element. The Council has used Council Tax payers to build up at least £94 million of Revenue Reserves of various sorts. One of these is a General Reserve of £15 million which the Director of Finance advises is adequate but should not be touched. Then the Labour proposals indentify 'risk of extra expenditure' and include in it an unsdpecified £1 million for "allowance for uncertainty". This is nothing more than extra 'bunce' being extracted from local taxpayers to increase the Reserves even more. By eliminating this £1 million avoids having to raise the burden on Brent Council Tax payers by £1 million and therefore reduce the Labour proposed rise. The other parts of Anton Georgiou's proposal work in exactly the same way. He has effectively covered both the Labour Councilors 1.99% rise and the Labour Mayor's approx 1% rise leaving just the 3% demanded by the Conservative to pay for Adult Social Care spending. If this was passed tonight the overall Council Tax rise would be more than halved and the only people left to blame would be the Conservative Government who continue to pass the burden of paying for Social Care onto Council Tax payers in Brent and across the country.

Martin Francis said...

Anon 15.01 - He had informal exchanges with finance officers to check figures but does not get the full commentary etc referred to by Anon on Feb 21st 20:28. (Makes it easier to respond if people use their names)

Anonymous said...

Opposes more money coming in, but supports more money going out.

Who could have predicted this?

Anonymous said...

Seems thin. Will FOI-it and post the answer here. Feel like the group-rule is being conflated with what an individual Cllr can actually do.

Anonymous said...

Lots of Lib Dem controlled councils raising CT, many by as much as they can.

Are you as critical of Kingston and their 4.99%?

Anonymous said...

No. He withdrew it. Missed the deadline to submit.

Anonymous said...

Richmond refusing to take the full 4.99 but confessing to an £18m revenue deficit in the CYP budget. #priorities

Anonymous said...

Hear the mayor just advised Anton that he was able to submit his alternate proposals had he wished.