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”.

Latest Ilford Stories

Yesterday, 18:09
Leyton Orient caretaker Andy Hessenthaler looks on (pic: Simon O'Connor/TGSPHOTO)

Brisbane Road interim boss reflects on Pollock’s performance and admits they’ve not spoke to president about next season

Yesterday, 17:35
Dagenham & Redbridge boss John Still  (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

Dagenham & Redbridge boss happy team overcome slow start to down Crawley

West Ham United's Mark Noble (centre) celebrates scoring his side's second goal against West Bromwich Albion (pic: Nick Potts/PA)

The Hammers keep European dream alive

Leyton Orient forward Ollie Palmer celebrates after finding the net (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Sky Bet League Two: Leyton Orient 1 Mansfield Town 0

Yesterday, 16:54
Christian Doidge of Dagenham & Redbridge wins a header in front of Lee Barnard of Crawley Town (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

Match report from the Sky Bet League Two encounter between Daggers and Reds

Yesterday, 15:00
Mandy Bansal

It is one of the most extreme challenges in the world, covering 159 miles in the sweltering heat of the Sahara desert over six days.

Yesterday, 15:00
Woodford Green bowling at home to Upminster in the Essex League Cup

New Woodford Green skipper Jack Cossey hopes the club’s youth system can continue to produce talented players, but believes the new season may be too early for the current crop.

Yesterday, 13:30
Oakfield Parkonians celebrate promotion to Division Two

Captain Jibran Azam backs team to show their quality on step up in leagues

Results

Ilford North

Ilford South

Leyton and Wanstead

Leyton and Wanstead

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Yummy traditional afternoon teas for two

MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Traditional Afternoon Teas for two at a location of your choice! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe