Cllr Joel Davidson is a councillor for Brondesbury Park Ward in Brent and the Conservative London Assembly candidate for Brent and Harrow.
At a meeting of Brent Council this week, Cllr Muhammed Butt, the Council’s Labour leader, provided his usual diatribe of negative, scaremongering invective.
Any resident attending these meetings, should they believe Cllr Butt (never a good idea), would come away thinking that Brent is the most depressing place on earth to live.
The prevailing hope from Labour appeared to be that the Government was going to pull all funding for the police, and that the residents of Brent would have no police on the streets. Utter, utter nonsense, of course, and it was greatly heartening to see the Chancellor shoot Labour’s fox with his announcement that he would protect all police funding in the Spending Review.
He constantly berates the Government, which has delivered record low unemployment in our borough, and yet has not come up with one single policy since May 2014 that is designed to improve lives for all our residents.
In fact, there is one policy that Cllr Butt can claim as his own – the deeply unpopular £40 Green Bin tax, that has led to record fly-tipping in Brent.
Only the Brent Conservatives continue to offer a positive alternative for Brent; we attacked vanity projects and unnecessary spending on PR to produce a budget that cut council tax by 2.5 per cent, and we will find similar savings every year.
Despite apparently managing an emaciated Council that is stretched to the bone, Cllr Butt’s administration still spends lavishly on a communications team to pump out favourable press releases for him and enter pointless awards ceremonies where Brent is often one of only two or three entrants.
There is also a ‘business intelligence unit’ and a ‘corporate policy unit’, both funded with budgets of hundreds of thousands of pounds – all Brent taxpayers’ money.
This Council has only taken baby steps to embrace shared services, and there is no reason why the back-office functions of several London boroughs cannot be shared to a much greater degree. KPMG, when recently auditing the Council’s Accounts Payable function, confirmed that a private sector organisation could handle a much greater volume of transactions than Brent with fewer staff and a smoother process.
As a Chartered Accountant with experience of working in the finance departments of many large businesses, I volunteer to work with Cllr Butt to drive the shared service agenda in Brent; I fear I will be waiting a long time for his phone call.
Brent Labour have no ideas, and no vision. They cynically hoodwink our residents into believing that the Government is somehow to blame for their abject performance.
The abject performance of Brent Council is the responsibility of Cllr Butt. The sooner he is gone, the better for Brent.