Labour leader “Harlow Tories are brushing over financial issues caused by own government”

General / Fri 1st Dec 2023 at 08:43am

THE LEADER of Harlow Labour has accused the Tories, who run Harlow Council of “brushing over financial issues caused by their own government”.

Councillor Chris Vince said: “At last night’s cabinet meeting the Conservative administration launched their mid-term financial strategy in which they celebrated the ‘envious’ financial position in which Harlow council finds itself compared to other authorities. 

However, this statement fails to recognise the huge issues that Harlow council continues to face due to constant cuts from the Conservative government.  The central grant which once made up 50% of the council’s income is now at 7.2%, over £60m of cuts to Harlow council from this Conservative government which shows time and time again it’s distain for our town and its residents. 

They are right to say that they are currently under budget, which is only in the wake of two years of an overspend and funds raided from reserves at a staggering total of £2.4m, but this is only due to huge staffing vacancies which are leading to a lack of service provision across the council, from HMO inspections to revenue and benefits support.

What should also be highlighted is that if Harlow council is in an ‘envious’ position compared to other councils, including Conservative run Thurrock, then some credit should be given to the last Labour administration who were able time and time again to balance the budget without cuts to services or staff. 

“One thing the council leader was right about was that the finance team at Harlow council have worked incredibly hard to pull the rabbit out of the hat and tackle an ever-decreasing funding pot, however, there does come a time when we run out of rabbits and have to sell the hat”. 

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6 Comments for Labour leader “Harlow Tories are brushing over financial issues caused by own government”:

2023-12-01 08:50:42

Waiting just waiting for a certain Torie councillor to comment

peter henegan
2023-12-01 12:03:32

I regard reserves as being over high taxation in previous years, so I see nothing wrong in utilizing excess reserves rather than increasing our council tax. Of course, I recognize that a degree of prudency is required so I would not expect the utilization to be such that the council gets into financial difficulty.

David Vincent
2023-12-01 15:01:05

Financial reserves are required by statute law. Sections 31A, 32 42A and 43 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 require local authorities to have regard to the level of reserves needed for meeting estimated future expenditure when calculating their budget requirement. Within this statutory framework, it is the responsibility for the Section 151 Officer to advise the Council about the level of reserves to hold and to report to all Members of the Council where reserves have become seriously depleted and it is forecast that the Council will not have the resources to meet its expenditure in a particular financial year. There is no set formula for deciding what level of reserves is appropriate – what is appropriate will depend on the Council’s own circumstances, which will vary over time. Members are responsible for ensuring that the Council’s reserves are appropriate for local circumstances, taking into consideration the advice provided by the Section 151 Officer. Harlow Council's Section 151 officer has not issued any notice indicating concern as far as I am aware.

Alderman Durcan
2023-12-01 15:33:13

Regardless of local politic the funding for essential local service has got worse. We’re now having to rely of profits from the Harvey centre,car parking charges and roundabout sponsorship. It’s not workable and this is down to the current government funding formula. We need a honest conversation with Harlow.residents.

Mark Gough
2023-12-01 16:02:29

Have Labour ever held any honest conversations with Harlow Residents Tony? Cos your record of financial mismanagement is legendary! Council tax rises year on year. I see Labour Nottinghamshire has gone bankrupt now, along with Birmingham and numerous others! As is usual on Finance Groundhog Day - Labour want to increase the tax burden and blame the Tory Government! It's so predictable it's utterly laughable frankly! Mark Gough - Reform UK

2023-12-01 16:47:15

Many Tory councils are bankrupt or heading that way e.g. Thurrock. Over a decade of 'austerity' cuts are responsible, attacking local government whatever the party.

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