This year has again seen cuts to the council budget as a result of the government’s important deficit reduction programme.
In administration in 2009/10 the Lib Dems laid the foundations for the difficult decisions that have been made over the last two years to balance the Town Hall’s books.
The success of the cuts to back office functions alongside extra money from the government for the council tax freeze has created unexpected flexibility in the budget to soften the impact on local residents and invest in jobs and growth.
This year the Lib Dems have identified over £6 million in additional savings and reserves that could be used to help residents now, invest in local jobs and ease the cuts on Labour’s failing Children’s Services.
Lib Dem Leader Cllr Bob Sullivan said:
“As a Liberal Democrat I am appalled to see that Labour are still subsidising their trade union paymasters, they are still spending half a million pounds on a wasteful council newspaper and they are still spending a million pounds a year on press officers and PR.
“And not only that but they’re hoarding money for a pre-election spending spree in 2014, when they could be helping residents now.
“Waltham Forest Labour have spent millions of pounds of tax payers money on consultants but they’re not investing enough in local jobs, they’ve spent £3 million earmarked for the Olympics on fireworks and parties whilst increasing fees for local sports and youth services, and next year they’re spending £3 million in their ‘priorities fund’ but barely 4% of it is to tackle unemployment.
“Lib Dems have identified over £6 million in extra savings and hidden reserves that could be spent now on helping local residents: Investing up to £4 million in jobs and growth, softening the blow of cuts to our struggling Children’s Services, and investing in local services by reversing the cut to Chingford South and Harrow Green libraries.”
“Waltham Forest Labour are out of touch, out of steam and out of ideas. They should get their priorities right for residents, stop wasting money on vanity projects and PR and be ambitious for Waltham Forest by accepting the Lib Dem’s budget amendment next week.”
Residents in Waltham Forest will be put at risk if the Mayor’s plans to privatise Fire Brigade 999 call handling go ahead, warn the borough’s Liberal Democrat Councillors.
Conservatives on the London Fire Authority backed by Mayor Boris Johnson propose to contract out the Fire Brigade Control Room that handles over 200,000 emergency 999 calls a year. They intend to push their controversial plan through before voters get a say in next May’s Mayoral and London Assembly elections, when controversial Conservative LFEPA boss Cllr Brian Coleman risks being ousted.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Farooq Qureshi said:
“I was shocked to hear of this plan. It makes no sense to separate the people answering 999 calls from the rest of the Fire Brigade. There are no private companies with a decent track record in this highly specialised fire safety work. It will just end up costing more money as the Fire Brigade will need an army of staff to check the private call handlers are getting it right. This is all about Conservative dogma rather than what is best for local residents’ safety.”
The Fire Brigade’s Union is also strongly opposed to the privatisation plan.
Commenting on the sell off Liberal Democrat Candidate for Mayor of London, Brian Paddick said:
“As a former police chief I recognise that control rooms are an essential part of the emergency response. Privatising the fire brigade control room runs the risk of providing a second class service at a higher cost to the public.”
Figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats show that Waltham Forest Council have failed to meet their own targets for paying local businesses within 10 days for 7 out of the last 8 months. And they have only once met their targets for paying small businesses on time since last April 2011.
According to the Federation of Small Businesses the Government estimates that in 2008, 4,000 businesses failed as a direct result of late payment and it costs UK businesses £180 million in debt interest charges. The problem of late payment is not just a commercial one, but it is also ethically wrong. When large businesses or the public sector pay late, it can put small firms out of business.
Liberal Democrat Leader and Finance Spokesperson, Councillor Bob Sullivan said:
“This is a tough time for small businesses and these targets were set to try and help cash flow for local businesses in Waltham Forest.
“For some small businesses, being paid promptly can mean the difference between growing or standing still; between creating jobs or cutting them; between keeping the doors open or closing them for good.”
“It is unacceptable that the council is failing local businesses in this way. Officers and Cabinet members should use the new year to turn over a new leaf and pay local businesses on time in 2012.”
Those of you who live in Leyton Ward should have received our Christmas FOCUS, but those of you who do not live in Leyton Ward can see our latest Focus Newsetter here:- Leyton 329
This Christmas edition contains information about:- Rubbish collection fiasco, Leyton CPZ, Lea Hall Gardens, Clyde Place, Windsor Road traffic survey, Etloe Road and a lot more.
The Focus newsletter is written by your local Focus Team and is delivered across the ward not only by the three of us but a network of local volunteers FREE!
IF YOU LIKE FOCUS AND WOULD LIKE TO HELP US BY DELIVERING IT IN YOUR ROAD, STREET OR BLOCK – THEN TELEPHONE ME on – 020 8556 8335
Don’t forget you can read previous Focus newsletters by looking into the Focus Archive displayed on the right hand side of this site.
The Council’s consultation on a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) in Leyton has finished and we are waiting for the results.
We now hear that there will be an Olympic CPZ from June to September next year, covering Leyton and Leytonstone, running from Lea Bridge Road down to the Olympic Park.
There will be no charge to residents and businesses and those roads that already have a CPZ will get a one month free extension to their permits when they renew.
Many residents’ rubbish and recycling has remained uncollected for weeks.
The Council says it is caused by teething troubles experienced by their new waste contractor – Kier. Residents have been complaining to Focus that they have had to wait three or four weeks to get their bins emptied, but even when the rubbish bins have been emptied the recycling has been left. Many residents say that they have phoned the Council but have been fobbed off with excuses.
Focus says: The Council’s contractor is being paid millions to collect our rubbish and recycling. The Council should make sure rubbish and re4cycling is collected regularly and on time. There should be no excuse for such abysmal service.