Harlow Tories “expose” Labour failings

Politics / Mon 21st Jul 2014 at 09:47am

THURSDAY night’s Cabinet meeting revealed a dramatic fall in residents’ satisfaction in council services and called into question Labour’s handling of taxpayers’ money claim the Harlow Conservative group.

The meeting was the first time, Old Harlow Conservative councillor (and newly installed deputy leader of the group) had to spearhead the scrutiny of the ruling Labour group and he took the chance with both hands.

Harlow Council’s latest performance report revealed that the authority failed to meet its own targets for street cleaning, tree works and dealing with customer complaints.

Labour faced a further set back when it was revealed that only 30% of residents felt the authority provided value for money.

When the Conservative group looked closely at the reports to Cabinet it was discovered that Labour are once again spending money they haven’t got by relying on “unspecified savings” claim the Tories. The new Council building and window contract will exceed the current budget allocation by £41,000. The administration claimed the shortfall will be managed within the Regeneration budget but failed to confirm how.

It was also revealed that £40,000 of taxpayers’ money has been spent on dealing with recent illegal encampments across Harlow.

Councillor Joel Charles, Deputy Leader of Harlow Conservatives, said:

“One of Labour’s key priorities is a clean environment but they are failing to meet their own street cleaning target. They have also missed their target for dealing with residents’ complaints, and one in four residents who call Contact Harlow hang up because they cannot get through. The Labour Party is struggling to show any leadership to improve these key frontline services. I am calling on Labour to urgently review procedures in Contact Harlow and Kier Harlow’s schedule of cleaning across the town to identify solutions to improve frontline delivery.

“In response to my questions last night it was revealed that Labour have spent £40,000 of taxpayers money on recent illegal encampments. The figure would have been far less if Labour had taken measures throughout the year to protect council land. The Labour Party reacted too late to stop travellers trespassing on council land and taxpayers now face rising bills through Labour’s negligence.

“The Conservative group are also alarmed that Labour are relying on unspecified savings to pay bills. This breaks a key rule of budget management that could leave the council with a deficit at the end of the financial year if the practice is expanded across all council services. The Leader of the Council should set out clearly how savings will be achieved before announcing increased spending.”

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