H.R.A Councillors recognise the huge pressure Havering Council Officers have been working under during the COVID pandemic. They have had to deal with unprecedented levels of new ways of working delivering government grants, and a change in the way services can be delivered during lockdown.
These pressures led the H.R.A Councillors to take the decision not to submit an alternative Budget this year. This would have taken officers away from their roles to work the budget through with H.R.A Members, when they should be supporting residents at this difficult time.
Councillor Ray Morgon, Leader of the Opposition said that “Why would we take officers away from front line delivery during a pandemic? Just because we have taken this decision, it doesn’t mean that we are in full agreement with the Conservative Groups budget proposals. The budget proposals have been presented with very little detail.
“Although we live in difficult and unusual times, many residents in Havering will be shocked by a 4.5% rise in council tax (5.43% including the Mayor of London’s increase), coupled with some above inflation rises in various fees and charges, whilst at the same time having reductions in services as a result of the £17 million reduction in the budget.”
Whilst the Council claims to be the most efficient Council in London, residents, businesses and my fellow Councillors, see countless examples every single week where the level of service is far from efficient or effective. One example of this is in relation to repairs to potholes which are often now taking months to mend increasing the likelihood of claims against the Council.
Councillor Chris Wilkins went on to say “The budget that has been proposed, lacks the detail as to how they are going to achieve savings alongside the delivery of their capital programmes, which is a high-risk strategy.”
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