Haringey spurns opportunties offered by Sustainable Communities Act

Typing still difficult, so here’s the text of the press release:

As the recession deepens Haringey Council has rejected an opportunity for millions of pounds of funding for local residents it emerged this week.

Local campaigners and Liberal Democrats expressed astonishment when they learned that Haringey’s Labour-run Council failed to organise applications for extra government money under the Sustainable Communities Act – instead opting for a “wait and see” approach.

Following enquiries from Councillor Nigel Scott, Alexandra ward, who proposed a unanimously supported motion to Council on the subject in January 2009, calling for an opt-in, Cllr Matt Cooke (Labour Cabinet Member for Community Cohesion and Involvement) sent an email indicating that Haringey Council will do nothing this year.

Councillor Nigel Scott comments:

“This new act gives real power to local communities yet Haringey Council admits they do not want to do anything to give this power and money to people in Haringey.

“Ninety five other councils are already doing this now, but Haringey has said, ‘no thanks, we’ll wait for next year’. This is unbelievable.

“The Labour councillors supported our motion in January but their warm words have failed to be followed up by any real action. Local residents will be very disappointed.”

Daniel Flanagan, a spokesman for Unlock Democracy, the organisation that campaigned for the Act said in a response to an e-mail from Cllr Scott,

“This is totally unacceptable and was not what was agreed at Council. There is no excuse for not opting in this year. There is no guarantee that there will be another round. The only way to be sure of getting something is to act now. The Council are letting down the residents of Haringey. If you do not opt-in, you are guaranteed to get nothing.”

Lynne Featherstone MP adds:

“As the effects of the credit crunch start to hit our community, local initiatives certainly could do with this extra cash boost now – not in a few years time. The Sustainable Communities Act says, in effect, ‘Give us some good community based ideas and we will pay for them’, yet Haringey can’t be bothered even to ask”.