Full Council meeting yesterday

Logo of Brent London Borough Council

Yesterday was the first reading of the Budget in the Brent Town Hall Council chamber.

There is a bit of a gloomy outlook with Brent having to make further cuts to the Budget as part of the wider £104 million that Brent has to make over the comprehensive spending review period.

Tory Liberal Councillors did their best to let the bankers off scot-free and set the blame on the previous Labour Government.

However, I spoke and made a contribution saying that regardless of whether you believe that the international banking crisis or the previous Labour Government and Gordon Brown is to blame for the country’s deficit and deficits of USA, Greece, Spain, Ireland, Germany, France and many more…. why don’t we think about Brent for a second.

Even if you believe that the cuts are necessary and that the debt should be tackled within one Parliament, is it fair that Brent Council has to make cuts in the region of 27-28% of our controllable budget whilst other Councils are getting more money?

How can the Brent Tory Liberals defend Brent losing out on resources while other areas are having Budget increases?

I have blogged about this before LINK.

Why should Brent have to cut more than others? If Tory Liberal Councillors do blame Labour for creating the deficit and the Coalition Government are holier than thou, are they still defending the level of cuts to Brent compared to others and supporting the damage made to Brent while other Councils are being given more money?

Directly challenging the view that we’re in this financial mess because of Labour

Labour’s fiscal stimulus helped make sure that recession didn’t turn into depression and that stimulus meant that people did not lose savings in their bank accounts, or mortgages didn’t collapse along with the banks, which would’ve led to people losing their homes.

Yes, Labour did borrow to help us recover from the crisis and that is why we now face a large public debt. But there is an alternative to paying back that debt. The Labour alternative presented at the last election was to first focus on recovery and pay back 50% of the debt within the next Parliamentary term (4 to 5 years). The Lib Dem / Tory plan is to pay it all off within the same timeframe and starting the cuts now risks economic recovery as the first year following a recession is always fragile. Even Thatcher didn’t make any cuts following first year following the downturn in the 1980s.

Figures from the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies show the difference between the current plans that are due to be implemented by the Coalition Government and the Labour alternative.

(Data Source: Institute for Fiscal Studies, Image Source: Left Foot Forward)

At the last full council meeting, Lib Dem group leader Paul Lorber barked on about blaming Labour for the state of the economy, ignoring the role that banks had to play.

But to say Labour is the reason why we’re in this mess is simply wrong… it’s irresponsible bankers that got us into this mess, and they should play a strong part in bearing the brunt of the costs for the role that they played getting us into this mess. While the Lib Dems and Tories are pushing out the message that Labour is to blame, the bankers responsible for the crisis are getting away with it.