Prospective Labour Candidate for Rush Green and Crowlands Angelina Leatherbarrow, today writes in the Havering Daily on the appointments of two new cabinet members during a time of financial struggle for many in the borough.
Just four months from the Local Elections, the Leader of Havering Council has just taken the decision to swell his Cabinet by another two members, who will be able to rake in around £30k each in additional “special allowances”. Just three months ago, when he launched a resident consultation in to spending, Damian White said “Balancing a budget as we are legally required to do is always a challenge. Setting out our plans during this stage of the pandemic with the current increase in demand for our services and a backdrop of unprecedented financial uncertainty makes the task this time even harder. This will be one of the most difficult spending plans the Council has ever had to deliver.”
Not so difficult that he couldn’t find and extra £60k under the Christmas tree for a couple more Cabinet members to do his bidding when it comes to votes though eh?
That £60k could be used to employ carers to help our elderly and disabled or youth workers to support children who are at risk of offending. It could be used to improve lighting in areas that have been highlighted by residents for being dangerous. But as we come creeping out of a pandemic (fingers crossed) and rush towards a full blown cost of living crisis of the Conservative party’s making, the leader of the council has prioritised his own position.
Families in the borough are struggling to make ends meet and in February we will hear just how big a hike in Council Tax we are all facing. This is a smack in the face to every one of us who pay our Council Tax to keep our vital services running. We already pay higher Council Tax than our neighbouring Labour boroughs, but they get a better deal than us on their services. Things like glass collection, cheaper bulky waste collection, free school meals for all primary school children. This is where our money should be going, not on a failing leader buying a couple more votes to shore up his own political position.
This will be the final insult to many residents already feeling anxious about a national insurance tax hike, fuel costs sky rocketing and inflation going through the roof. Hopefully in May 2022 at the Local Elections, residents will take the power back and vote to get Damian White and his gang out of the Town Hall once and for all.