Haringey Council admits “out of control” spending

A recent Guardian report has highlighted how Haringey Council has admitted that action to cut wasteful spending could have been taken years ago. Local taxpayers, faced with the closure of older people’s day centres and cuts to children’s centres, youth services and parks, will be outraged to learn that these cuts could been avoided, Liberal Democrat have said.  
 
The article revealed that the Council was spending £12million a year more than necessary on goods and services like printing, IT, consultants and bottled water.  Opposition councillors say these are yet more examples of Labour’s “out of control” spending.
 
The Council had 14 different bottled water suppliers, spent £5million more than needed on printing, used 60 different consultants and thousands of temp workers. In total, savings of £12million were made on procuring goods and services at cheaper prices. 
 
Liberal Democrats, who have been arguing that Council has been wasting millions due to poor management and procurement for years, have said this is an admission of failure by the Council and have called for further scrutiny of the Council’s finances.
 
Cllr Richard Wilson, Haringey Liberal Democrat Leader, comments:
 
“If Labour had listened to outside criticism this waste could have been identified earlier and millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money could have been saved.
 
“Hard-pressed local taxpayers will be outraged to hear that, instead of closing older people day centres cutting funding for parks and youth services, Labour could have been sticking to their promises to protect front-line services. But this is another example of their out-of-control spending.
 
“Whilst belatedly the Council have acted to reduce costs they should see this as a wake up call and start embracing scrutiny. We need a beefed up watchdog body which can get its teeth into the Council’s finances and ensure local people get value for money.”
 
Lynne Featherstone MP adds:
 
“It is widely known that Labour nationally overspent and contributed to the financial troubles the country is now in. The Council has now admitted that they too failed to act to reduce costs that could and should have protected front-line services.
 
“It is unfair that the most vulnerable residents are losing vital services because of Labour’s inability to keep Council spending under control”.

A legacy of 40 years of Labour failure

On the day that marks 40 years of continuous Labour rule in Haringey it has been revealed that the borough is more deprived than at any time in the past decade. Liberal Democrats have branded new deprivation figures, which show Haringey as the 8th most deprived authority in the country, as “the legacy of Labour’s forty years in power”.
 
The figures released by the Government show that since 2000 Haringey has moved from the 28th to the 8th most deprived area in the country, with areas such as Northumberland Park and White Hart Lane continuing to be in the top ten of deprived areas in London.
 
Liberal Democrats have highlighted Labour’s failure to tackle deprivation and inequality in Haringey during their four decades in power. They say that this failure adds to the list of financial and public disasters under Labour in the last 40 years including the bungled sell-off of Alexandra Palace, £37million lost in Icelandic banks, millions of pound overspent on IT schemes, two tragedies due to failures in children’s services, and residents facing the highest Council Tax rates in London.
 
The Indices of Deprivation figures show that, since 2007, three more areas in Haringey are considered as being in the 10% most deprived wards in the country. This is contrary to many Councils in London which have seen a reduction in the amount of deprived areas and have improved their position in the deprivation scale.
 
Cllr Richard Wilson, Haringey Liberal Democrat Leader, comments:
 
“Forty years of Labour and what do local residents get in return – a more deprived borough than at any time in the last decade; a council still recovering after its second children’s services disaster; a council with a list of financial disasters longer than Greece’s and a borough still with massive health and income inequality.
 
“On top of this we now have a Labour administration hell bent on closing children’s centres, cutting youth services and closing older people’s day centres – this is the legacy of forty years of Labour mismanagement. Our residents deserve better.”
 
Lynne Featherstone MP adds:
 
“Labour squandered their chance in government and left our economy in tatters. In Haringey, the forty years of Labour has been punctuated with financial disasters, marred by tragedies and scattered with scandals. I’m just glad we have Liberal Democrat councillors holding this poorly-led Council to account.
 
“Labour in government had years of a booming economy yet failed to meet their own child poverty targets, whilst income inequality actually increased.
 
“After just one year in government Liberal Democrats have lifted 2,900 local residents out of paying any income tax at all, 25,500 of Haringey’s pensioners are being given £4.50 a week more in their pension and our schools are getting extra money through the Pupil Premium.”

Budget 2011 – help for thousands of low paid residents in Haringey

It is estimated that over a thousand of the lowest paid residents in Haringey will not have to pay income tax from April 2011 after the announcement by the government today that the tax threshold will increase by £630 to £8105.
 
The effect of the government’s change to income tax rates is estimated to reduce annual tax bills by £200 for 76,000 local residents and lift 1,300 people in the borough from paying any income tax at all. 
 
The announcement by the coalition government is the next step in the implementation of a key Liberal Democrat policy to ensure, by 2015, that no-one earning less than £10,000 a year pays income tax.
 
Welcoming the announcement, Cllr Richard Wilson, Deputy Leader of Haringey Liberal Democrats, comments:
 
“I welcome the government’s recognition that local residents should be free from central government taxes on their income less than £8015. When people want to work they should have incentives that show work pays. This will help some of the lowest paid workers in Haringey and is a great step towards tackling the inequality in this borough which has festered under Labour.”
 
Lynne Featherstone MP added:
 
“This is another step towards achieving the Liberal Democrat aim to ensure that no-one has to pay tax on the first £10,000 of their hard-earned wages. I am glad that, even after the horrendous state Labour left our public finances, Liberal Democrats in government are still able to deliver real benefits for local people struggling on low wages.”

Lynne Featherstone and local Liberal Democrats launch campaign on better access to GPs

Lynne Featherstone and Katherine Reece surveying a local resident in Stroud Green about her access to GPsHaringey Liberal Democrats have just launched a campaign to make sure residents living near the Borough boundary can access GPs in neighbouring boroughs.
 
The action comes after residents in Stroud Green have complained of not being allowed to register with GPs surgeries just over the border in Islington.
 
Last Friday, Lynne Featherstone MP, Stroud Green Cllr Katherine Reece and Health Spokesperson Cllr David Winskill launched a GP survey to hear from residents in Stroud Green about their access to GPs. The health campaign is also looking at access to NHS dentists and gathering residents’ opinions on the standard of local health services.
 
Local councillors Katherine Reece and Richard Wilson have already met with NHS Haringey who acknowledge that registering with a GP can be a serious problem for residents in Stroud Green.
 
Nationally the Liberal Democrats in government are pushing to give patients the right to choose to register with the GP they want, without being restricted by where they live.
 
Lynne Featherstone MP comments:
 
“It’s ridiculous that residents on the north side of Stroud Green Road cannot always use GPs on the south side of the road due to bureaucratic wrangling.
 
“We are surveying residents in Stroud Green to find out just how bad the situation is, and will be bringing the results to health bosses.”
 
Stroud Green Councillor Katherine Reece adds:
 
“It’s great that Liberal Democrats in Government are working on changing the rules about where you can register for your GP. We want to do our bit here in Stroud Green.
 
“However Islington PCT is refusing to recognise there is a problem with cross-border GP access.  We hope this survey of local residents will change their minds and force them to work with GPs to widen access.”

Outrage after residents are sidelined on consultation

Cllr Richard Wilson at proposed development siteLiberal Democrats have demanded an extension to a consultation after local residents were left out by Haringey Council on plans for a controversial development in Stroud Green.

The Council failed to send thirteen residents in Quernmore, Elyne and Stapleton Hall Road key consultation documents on plans to turn a garden into a five-bedroom house that borders their properties.

Local councillor, Richard Wilson, has made a formal complaint to the Council and asked that the consultation, which is due to end on 4 August, is extended for local residents to have their say on the proposals.

Cllr Richard Wilson (Stroud Green) comments:

“It is vital that all residents have a say on developments affecting their neighbourhood. It is unacceptable that the Council have failed to consult adequately and the consultation should be extended immediately.

“And I can understand why people are so keen to object to this proposal. I don’t think the site is really suitable for development – and certainly not for a house of this size.”

Lynne Featherstone MP adds:

“The Council needs to own up to this mistake and do all in their power to make sure residents get the chance to respond. This is frankly quite a large development and neighbours should get the chance to have their say.”

Local Liberal Democrats demand action on dangerous crossing

Campaigning for safer crossingsCampaigners have vowed to put an end to local schoolchildren’s “terrifying” route to school, by starting a campaign to make a dangerous crossing in Stroud Green safer.

Local Liberal Democrats have launched a petition to get Haringey Council and Transport for London (TfL) to take action, to make the zebra crossing safer on Upper Tollington Park by installing a pedestrian crossing and, in the short-term, having crossing patrols for local schoolchildren.

Despite many requests from local Stroud Green councillors, Haringey Council has failed to keep to promises to make the crossing clearer to drivers and to slow down the traffic.

Local residents can sign the petition by visiting http://campaigns.libdems.org.uk/page1633

Cllr Richard Wilson (Stroud Green) comments:

“It is clear that local residents want action to make this crossing safer for local pedestrians, especially schoolchildren, who use it every day.
“I am very disappointed that, despite promises, Haringey Council has failed to take any action.”

Lynne Featherstone MP, adds;

“We think that the council should employ a crossing patrol now. We cannot wait until a serious accident happens.
“A longer term aim, will be to ask the council and TfL to work to install a permanent crossing or other measures, to make this crossing safer.”

Watch the video interview with our Stroud Green team

My LibDem colleagues standing for Stroud Green ward – Cllr Ed Butcher, Cllr Richard Wilson and Katherine Reece who is the candidate replacing Cllr Laura Edge – were interviewed by stroudgreen.org. The discussion in the video ranges over their reasons for standings, their priorities for Haringey, their favourite things about Stroud Green, final thoughts and how to get in touch. Congratulations to stroudgreen.org for this – bringing politics to the people!