Labour faces criticism over meeting cancellation
HARINGEY'S Labour party has been accused of cancelling a key council tax meeting for fear of not having enough votes to pass their budget plans. Following the shock move of Cllr Brian Haley to the Liberal Democrats, as reported in Broadway
HARINGEY'S Labour party has been accused of cancelling a key council tax meeting for fear of not having enough votes to pass their budget plans.
Following the shock move of Cllr Brian Haley to the Liberal Democrats, as reported in Broadway last week, the ruling party's majority on Haringey Council was cut to just four members, with one Conservative also sitting on the council.
On February 8, the council was due to meet for a full council meeting - one of two usually called to discuss the budget for the coming year and, as a result, the level of council tax.
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The meeting has now been cancelled by Labour. Leading Lib Dems claim the party did it because Cllr Haley's move, and their decision to deselect a further three sitting councillors from running at May's election, means they have been left worried they won't have enough votes.
Lib Dem finance spokesman Cllr Ed Butcher said: "Given their reduced majority at the last council meeting Labour is clearly concerned it will not have enough votes to pass its budget plans.
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"It is disappointing Labour wants to spend less time discussing how the council will spend nearly half a billion pounds of taxpayers' money and less time on how it will help local residents feeling the pinch in these tough economic times."
Lib Dem leader Cllr Robert Gorrie said: "Cancelling a full council meeting without any discussion shows Labour's lack of respect for Haringey and its residents.
"Labour continues to shy away from scrutiny, duck accountability for the services it runs and dodge its responsibility for Haringey being the worst run council in London."
The claim has been branded "absolute nonsense" by the Labour Party whose chief whip Cllr Joe Goldberg said: "This decision was taken by officers who wanted to minimise bureaucracy.
"The Lib Dems budget performance is pathetic. They have never once presented a costed alternative to our budget and in four years have never had a full attendance at council.
"As a Labour group, we are all delighted to be proposing a freeze in council tax and balanced budget.
"I would suggest the Lib Dems spend more time trying to serve the citizens of this borough and less time inventing stories."
A council spokeswoman confirmed the business scheduled for February 8 would now go to the other budget meeting on February 22.
She added: "This will be a more efficient use of both officer and member time - it will be less bureaucratic and bring the council in line with the majority of other councils which have one budget meeting, not two.