Residents vote between services council should provide anyway
PUBLISHED: 18:52 23 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:13 05 October 2010
Dear Ed, Residents votinhg on how to spend council tax are given a presentation on each of the 25 extra services they can buy.' But the choices are between services the council should be using its budget to provide anyway!
I WENT along to Tower Hamlets council's 'You Decide' event for the Isle of Dogs last week which gave residents a say in how to spend £140,000 of council tax in their ward. Residents are given a short presentation on each of the 25 extra services they can 'buy' and then they vote for which ones they want, such as an extra policeman to patrol their streets, a women's lifeguard training event and 'mother tongue' GCSE classes.
But the choices offered were between services that the council should be using its £300 million budget to provide anyway!
Should a room of 100 people really have to choose between making their streets safer or giving their children the chance of better GSCE results?
There is a high chance that this process will be used as an excuse by Labour for not delivering the basic services they have promised.
If a ward does not vote for extra policemen, for example, perhaps because their local park is in dire need of attention, does it mean the council blames residents if crime figures continue to rise?
Local democracy must not be used as an excuse to pass the buck for failing services from the Town Hall.
Cllr Tim Archer (Con)
Tower Hamlets Council
Poplar & Limehouse Parliamentary Candidate
Saundersness Road, Cubitt Town, Isle of Dogs