Redbridge Council joins neighbouring councils in legal challenge against government

Redbridge Town Hall Photo credit: Redbridge Council

Redbridge Town Hall Photo credit: Redbridge Council - Credit: Archant

Redbridge Council has launched a legal challenge against the government demanding millions more in central funding.

The cash-strapped authority has joined other outer-London boroughs including Newham and Barking and Dagenham, in the unprecedented action, which could culminate in a judicial review.

But the timing of the challenge came under-fire from opposition councillors, with leader of Redbridge Conservatives Paul Canal branding it an “empty political gesture”.

Cllr Jas Athwal, leader of the Labour council, said it would be “completely mad” if it didn’t challenge the government.

“There are some very rich boroughs in central London. They are buying up housese in our borough, to give us the residents who are the most needy in terms of council services,” he said.

“The council doesn’t actually take that into account.”

He said the authority was pushing for an extra £6 million a year to cope with an estimated 15 per cent population increase over the next six years

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“We are confident that the counsel that we have actually employed is saying we have a damn good case,” added Cllr Athwal.

“The unfairness is just outrageous.”

And he said while the councils were targeting the incumbent government, he was confident a Labour-led government would listen to the boroughs’ case.

But opposition leader Cllr Canal claimed the challenge showed the council had “given up” on the election.

“[The council] should spend less time making empty political gestures during ‘purdah’ [pre-election period] and more time atoning for the sins of the last Labour Government,” he said. “Britain and Ilford North have still not forgiven them, as the ballot box will prove.”

Cllr Athwal insisted the timing of the challenge could not be altered as the process had already been started, with a deadline of April 30.

“You waste public money doing something again and again,” he added.

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