Search

Labour leader Jas Athwal: Keeping area committee meetings will bankrupt the borough

07:13 04 June 2014

Archant

Area committees face the axe as the new Labour administration claims keeping them could bankrupt the borough, according to the party leader.

Residents have reacted angrily to the proposal to scrap the seven committee meetings to cut costs. One contacted the Recorder demanding answers on Labour’s plan for a replacement and Labour local election candidate Mark Santos, now a councillor, sparked uproar at a Barkingside 21 hustings meeting after insisting the meetings would be scrapped, if Labour gained control of the council.

Cllr Jas Athwal insisted he and his cabinet were looking for cheaper alternatives, because the current system cost the borough between £850,000 and £1 million.

Cllr Athwal said: “Area committees were set up more than 14 years ago - they are not value for money.

“We are spending the best part of a million pounds and that cannot continue.

“One of the things we are committed to is local democracy, so we are looking at alternatives.”

Cllr Athwal claims 24 people on average attend the meetings every six weeks in each area.

“For an area that is not democratic,” he added. “I cannot allow £850,000 to be spent on 24 people otherwise the borough will be bankrupt.”

Cllr Athwal feels a viable option is gauging residents’ opinions on issues from the borough’s online services.

“We have got online facilities now,” he added. “More and more services are going online. We want to open up the whole process.”

The Tories have branded Labour’s claims as “ludicrous”.

Cllr Paul Canal, the new leader of the borough’s Conservative party, added: “This is doubtless the first in a series [of] not thought through knee-jerk policies and bodes ill for the future.

“The vast majority of the money spent by area committees is actually spent on giving residents services they want.”

Cllr Canal also added: “I know Cllr Athwal is fairly inexperienced but I am still surprised at this early sign of panic.”

The Tory leader went on label the proposal to abandon area committees as “old fashioned Socialism”.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ilford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ilford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ilford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

19:00
Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena leaves Southwark Crown Court. Picture: PA

A doctor from Clayhall accused of carrying out female genital mutilation on a mother said he thinks it is an “abhorrent practice” and is “deeply embarrassed”, a court heard.

18:18
NHS unions have called off industrial action

NHS trade unions have suspended industrial action due to take place across London on Thursday.

14:19
Rabbi Sufrin speaking at the Holocaust Memorial service at Holocaust Memorial Garden in Valentines Park in Ilford

The fallout of the Paris terror attacks could be clearly felt as faith leaders, councillors and school children marked Holocaust Memorial Day today (Tuesday).

The block of flats in Broomfield Road, Chadwell Heath, where Ayesha Ali was found dead in August 2013

A mum accused of murdering her eight-year-old daughter was told her child was evil and that her parents would die due to her bad behaviour, a court has heard.

Most read news

Fans of cool pictures of fire – this one’s for you.

Have you noticed lots of ladies with smudged lippie on social media lately? Find out why they’re deliberately committing a make-up faux pas.

Emergency declared as blizzard is expected to dump up to 24 inches of snow.

With 100 days to go until the General Election we decided to give it a try.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Ilford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24
Our trusted business finder