Opposition Parties Review Council Cabinet Meeting

Budget underspend and queries over refuse collections

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The meeting of Ealing's Cabinet on Tuesday (26th July) raised a number of important issues which both the Conservatives and the Lib Dems have highlighted.

Councillor Mark Reen Shadow Tory Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance said Labour underspent its budget by £9m in 2010/11 squirreling away all the unspent money into its reserves. He said :

"This under spending - if continued - represents an over taxation of Ealing’s residents. 

''If the Council does not know what to do with £9 million, I am sure that the residents of Ealing - whose money this - would have a better idea of how to spend it.  

''Rather the Council continuing to hide its excess cash under the mattress, I will be asking the Labour Council to either spend the money on the services residents want and pay for or give the money back as a tax cut.''

Meanwhile Liberal Democrat Leader Gary Malcolm says the money shouldn't be saved but used now to protect vulnerable groups:

'' Ealing Council as each council across the country needs to stop blaming others and get on with focusing its attention on protecting services for the vulnerable and keep as many front-line roles as is possible. This Council has not done this.''

There are also concerns over the new refuse contract -  white 'plastic' recycling bags are likely to be phased out and there are fears that collections could become fortnightly.

Conservative Cllr Tony Young, Shadow Portfolio for Environment and Transport said:

''Labour has priced in their new Waste and Recycling contract an option to move to fortnightly collection of household waste, recyclables and garden waste.  In the 2010 local elections, Labour promised residents a “guaranteed weekly collection.

'' It would appear that Labour is planning to recycle their manifesto pledge.''

Liberal Democrat Leader Gary Malcolm says :

'' Interestingly it may be that Labour now want to have a fortnightly collection of household waste. In the report it stated that this is something they may wish to implement. I do recall the Liberal Democrats and the other two Ealing political parties all said they were not happy with a fortnightly collection system. Perhaps Labour have changed their policy?''

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28th July 2011