By Cllr Chris Vince
Harlow Council’s cabinet meeting on the 1st of December revealed time and time again the Conservative Party’s contempt for Harlow.
Since 2010 funding has been cut to Harlow Council by a staggering £64.2m. On top of that they have cut funding to the tax support scheme, expecting Harlow Council to fund it and then, by expecting the council to buy back it’s own council housing stock, leave us with a £200m debt.
However, locally the new Conservative administration at Harlow Council is not covering itself in glory either. Last year they overspent by £1.2m and this year they are on course to overspend by a further £666k. This figure takes into account the fact that they are hugely understaffed, having saved £448k by failing to fill staff vacancies, which means the figure could be even higher. And what have they got to show for the expenditure? Leaking roofs, failing services, housing repairs in chaos with a depleted and demoralised workforce. Their fiscal incompetence grows worse with every passing day.
One of the ways the Conservatives are hoping to save cash, although nothing like enough to cover their overspend, is by not filling many of the vacancies. This will mean less council staff and a severely diminished service level at the very time they are launching a customer service improvement plan. You really couldn’t make it up!
However, as the Conservative administration told us at the cabinet meeting, the council’s ‘sole priority is regeneration’, bolstering the egos of Tory councillors and filling the pockets of developers whilst 100’s of residents live under leaking roofs and many more face an uncertain and cold winter.