Labour-led Newham Council launched their ‘Budget Challenge’ today. They are asking Newham residents to support cuts of £50 million for the next year. We think you’ll find Rachel Collinson’s alternative budget much more appealing. Let us know your thoughts!
Newham council have decided to spend money to tell us all that we need to save money.
This week their budget consultation starts, asking the people of Newham where we think we can make savings. (Not in itself a bad idea!) The Green Party are delighted to help and thank the Mayor for this opportunity. We think we have the answer. But will he listen?
We have not only found the £50m in savings he is asking us for, but also… well, you’ll see…
First of all – Newham Council’s LOBO contracts. These were mis-sold by the banks as loans, when in fact they are complex financial products known as derivatives. These are illegal for councils to use. Suing the banks for this would save us £35m in interest every year – and possibly even more in compensation.
That leaves us with £15m to find.
So, then we have several Private Finance Initiatives – the brainchild of the Conservative Party in the 1990s. Newham’s Labour council grabbed them from big developers like free chocolate samples. This means £26.5m of our council tax is going directly to groups of big companies like Lend Lease.
We could buy out these PFI contracts from the council’s quarter-of-a-billion pound annual capital budget. Perhaps we could use the money set aside for Red Door Ventures, a private housing company?
£35m + £26.5m = £61.5m.
Look at that – we’ve overshot our target by £11.5m.
So, Newham Green Party would like to issue a ‘People’s Budget Consultation’ – what would you like to spend this extra £11.5m on?
230 additional teachers? 100 new small businesses for Newham, creating thousands of jobs? Council tax reductions for 30,000 families on low incomes? Community energy schemes that would reduce our air pollution and slash our electricity bills?
Tweet us your ideas at @newhamgreens and we’ll publish our own consultation results in October alongside Newham Council’s.