Saturday, 31 January 2009

Mike Cuts the Mustard !!!!

Some very interesting questions and answers at the last Council meetings.
Strangely these haven't been reported by the usual suspects in their blogs :-

Question 26
Councillor Brian Gordon
For how many successive years has our Council managed to keep Council Tax increases below inflation and how has this been achieved?

Answer by Councillor Mike Freer, Leader of the Council
Unlike the previous Labour / LibDem coalition who increased Council Tax above inflation every year they ran the Council, this will be the 5th year in succession we have delivered a below RPI increase in Council Tax. We are one of only a handful of London Councils to have achieved this.
This has been done by tight budget setting and control. We have consistently reduced the base budget by £10m every year, largely through efficiency measures that protect priority services. We have ensured spending is within budget through rigorous budget monitoring and proactive budget management. All this has been during a period of below inflation grant settlements i.e. real term grant cuts.

Question 30
Councillor Brian Gordon
Can the Leader please comment on the latest Government Formula Grant Settlement for the Borough?

Answer by Councillor Mike Freer, Leader of the Council
Barnet’s grant increase is 2.2% below the national settlement of 2.8%
The percentages cannot hide the poor settlement for London in particular where grant increases will not be enough to meet inflationary pressures let alone new service demands. In fact, it is likely that the NLWA levy increase alone will exceed the grant increase. The current minister has made it quite clear his intention to help his northern supporters by continuing to drain grant away from the economic capital of the UK to the less successful regions. As evidence I need only refer to the flawed changes made in the last couple of years to grant allocations for adult social services that have deprived London of much needed resources to support the vulnerable.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Mike Stands up to the bullies

Why will Mike Freer make a great MP? Because he's prepared to stand up to the bully boys and take action. In his latest blog he details the tough action he's taken to stand up to the cowardly thugs who threaten hard working family businesses in Barnet. If you have any doubts about the way in which the conflict in Gaza has been exploited by various supporters of terror, left wing radicals and other bandwagon jumpers for their own ends read this article in the London Daily News. Have any of the other Golders Green and Finchley Candidates gone public with support for Israel?

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Barnet Council Tax rise below inflation again

This week Barnet Council's cabinet met to discuss the budget for the coming year. They are proposing a rise of 2.81%, well below the rate of inflation. Congratulations to Mike on keeping taxes rises down when the grants from government have been cut.

How have Labour and the Lib Dems reacted? As ever they are looking both ways at the same time. They berate Mike for having to raise tax at all, whilst complaining that services are being streamlined. They've also taken to criticising Mike for using the reserves to ease the burden on families. Given the raids on reserves when we had a Lib/Lab administration, this is rather rich. Doesn't it occur to them that the reserves are funds earmarked for a rainy day. Given the economic situation, surely that rainy day has arrived and families in Barnet deserve a break.