Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Barry Rawlings' Barnet Press Column:
You have probably read that the Barnet Conservatives have decided to spend almost £500,000 of your money on six new press officers for the Council’s communications team.
This is because of a need “for managing the Council’s reputation” which is hardly surprising after the number of bungles there have been, such as the London election fiasco and the removal of freedom passes from some disabled people.
Perhaps the Conservative councillors need to spend some time reflecting on why they have problems with their reputation rather than spending your money trying to gloss over it.
They could also do with getting out more and seeing the state of some of our streets that are strewn with rubbish and the increasing problem of fly tipping.
This creates a depressing environment and more antisocial behaviour, and it costs the council tax payer extra to get it cleaned up. Fining people for deliberate littering is a good idea, but unless the Council keeps its end of the bargain by emptying bins and sweeping streets regularly they will make it seem acceptable to litter.
Unfortunately there are plans to cut £750,000 from the street cleaning budget, so things could get a lot worse.
Labour councillors believe we need both tough enforcement against perpetrators of enviro-crime, and quick action to clear it away when it happens.
The Council’s polite message on posters encouraging people to ‘Keep Barnet Clean’ seems a little tame. A Labour-run Barnet Council would get a lot tougher – the message should be #Don’tMessWithBarnet.
In the meantime, I say to the Tories – stop wasting money on council spin-doctors and #CleanUpBarnet.