Barnet’s Labour councillors will be proposing an alternative budget at tomorrow's Full Council meeting that will provide the funding to build 800 new council homes, reverse the cuts to the Library Service and also fund six additional police constables to help fight rising crimes like burglary.
The new council homes would replace the 800 lost through the Conservatives’ plans to re-develop the four largest council estates in Barnet, and would be rented at 50 per cent of market rates compared to the Barnet Conservatives plan to rent any future new build council homes at 65 per cent of market rent – a rent level that is unaffordable for households with incomes of £30,000 and below.
The Labour Group budget also uses savings and reserves to reverse the total planned £2.2m cut in libraries. The Labour Group have included funding in their budget to develop a new vision for the Library service in consultation with local residents.
Crime in Barnet increased 6.4 per cent in the last year and the Labour Group have also allocated money to pay for six additional police constables under the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) ‘ buy one get one free’ offer to councils as a start to reverse the on-going cuts to police officers.
The proposals in the fully costed and validated alternative budget are funded by:
- a £500k reduction in spend on consultants and agency staff
- a £338k reduction in spend on council communications
- a £220k reduction in the number of committees, their associated administrative costs and spend on special responsibility allowances for committee Chairs
- a £1.3m reduction in senior management and other management posts
- scrapping free councillor parking permits
- an £80k reduction in the Mayor's budget and councillors' refreshments at council meetings
The additional council homes are funded by a mix of borrowing, paid back over 50 years, and use of future commuted payments and right to buy receipts.
In addition, the Labour Group are proposing to apply the full 2% social care precept to help meet the rising cost of care for the elderly and disabled.
Leader of the Barnet Labour Group, Cllr Barry Rawlings said “We need to build a borough where everyone is valued and can play their part, and that won’t happen if we don’t act to make sure that those on modest and low incomes like teachers, nurses, care workers, police officers and street-cleaners can afford to live here.
“We have a vision for the borough where this does happen, where care for the elderly is properly resourced, and where libraries are cherished and a vital part of the local community.
“Our budget is only a start on the road to making Barnet better. Tomorrow’s vote will show which Councillors are up to this job.”
1. A copy of the Labour Group alternative budget can be found here.
For more information contact:
Cllr Barry Rawlings: firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568