The annual Brent budget consultation is with us again,and again Cllr. Butt goes through the motions of a public - relations exercise rather than a genuine consultation! Indeed, he told us last year that he would be proposing a 3.99% rise for 2018/19,but now it is suddenly 4.99%.How arrogant is that?
The rise will mean that this Labour council will have increased Council Tax by 13% since the May 2014 local elections.It is totally unnecessary.
Brent Council receives monies from government under a variety of headings,all of which Cllr. Butt totally ignores.His figures are very misleading.For example, Brent receives New Homes Bonus - which is a significant grant generating more than £50 -60m. over the years.What about the Public Health Grant,which totalled £22m. just in 2017/18?Perhaps, I could also mention the additional £12 m. for adult social care given by government last year!
Surely, the essence of consultation is to show balance in the questions asked - rather than the hysterical outburst that we get in the consultation document ....lets ask questions such as-
- should we spend an annual £1m. on press and communications (which includes the Brent Magazine)?
- should we spend an annual £1m. on the " Business Intelligence Unit " ?
- how much should the Council set aside in provisions for " rainy days "- it was £3.5m. for 2017/18?
- should the Council have used £1m. of this £3.5m. set aside to fund the Tricycle Theatre refurbishment( after the Tricycle had received £6m. from other sources )?
- should the Council spend more monies on our pavements and footways, or is it right to hoard monies to maintain Brent 's record bank balances ?
- should the Council take a more realistic view of its income streams( Council Tax / Business Rates) from the mass of buildings going up weekly around Wembley Stadium, rather than the incredibly negative view that the Council takes when including figures in its budget?
- instead of a 4.99% increase in Council Tax ( equivalent to raising £5m. ) should the Council put £5m. from New Homes Bonus in the revenue budget as Brent used to - so as to have a Council Tax freeze - rather than build up the NHB in the capital budget?Brent will receive £9m. in NHB in 2018/19.
Brent Council should freeze its Council Tax for 2018/19,and it can easily be done with no
compensatory savings needed - just use New Homes Bonus.Brent consistently underspends its capital budget - most recently by £100m, so the NHB will hardly be missed in the capital budget.
Brent has taken creative accounting to a new level, so please Cllr. Butt stop hoodwinking Brent residents with all your doom and gloom...lets agree on a Council tax freeze at the very least!