Labour in Haringey have been challenged this week to reveal whether they support costly plans put forward by the Labour mayoral candidate to scrap Haringey in favour of a new authority spanning North-East London.
Ken Livingstone’s proposals for the imposition of five sub-regional councils would mean that Haringey is merged with boroughs such as Barnet, Enfield and Hackney. Liberal Democrats have raised concerns that the plan would move services even further away from local residents, require an expensive and time-consuming reorganisation and divert attention and resources away from front-line services at a time when they are already under pressure.
Liberal Democrat GLA candidate for Haringey and Enfield, Dawn Barnes, has branded Livingstone’s plans “anti-resident” and a “diversion”.
Dawn Barnes comments:
“Whilst further joint working between boroughs to reduce costs is needed, Labour’s plan to create a north-east super state moves responsibility and accountability further away from local people.
“It is one of the most anti-resident, anti-localism proposals I have ever heard, would be expensive at a time when Council’s spending has been squeezed and diverts attention to a top-down re-organisation rather than the much-needed focus on the delivery of vital front-line services.
“What Labour in Haringey need to ask is – do they support Ken’s dream to abolish Haringey for super-boroughs?”
Cllr Richard Wilson, Haringey Liberal Democrat Leader, adds:
“I’m sure many Haringey residents would love to see Haringey Council abolished as it has one of the highest council tax rates in London and is one of the UK’s worst run and least efficient Councils. However, replacing it with a massive super Council covering all of North and East London would be hugely expensive and would just make the Council even more remote and unresponsive.
“We need decisions about local services to be made locally – we dont want council officers hiding away in a town hall many miles away, in somewhere like Hackney or Barnet.”