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Redbridge coalition admits adopting Labour's budget plans
Labour hit out at Redbridge Council’s coalition leadership after it admitted adopting some of the opposition’s budget amendments during a heated Town Hall debate.
The authority’s proposal for the next financial year, which included a council tax freeze, was passed last night.
But not before emotions ran high during a debate over amendments to the proposals.
Labour’s alternative budget included the introduction of free 30-minute parking in every street, giving environmental enforcement officers powers to issue fines and carrying out street cleaning on a weekly, rather than fortnightly, basis.
But the proposals, which were likely to prove popular with voters in an election year, were adopted for the coalition’s own amendment.
Furious Labour group leader, Cllr Jas Athwal, accused the council leadership of underhand tactics.
He said: "They are bankrupt of any ideas of their own.
“It is blatant plagiarism - most GCSE children would be barred for it.
“Imitation is the best form of flattery, but this is not what the people of Redbridge expect of the people who serve them."
However council leader, Keith Prince, accused Labour of double standards.
He said: "They thought their proposals were amazing but now they say they are rubbish after we implement them ourselves, this is clear electioneering with elections coming up."
Labour proposed to fund its proposals by abolishing area committees, where residents can raise concerns with councillors, and regional planning committees.
But deputy council leader, Cllr Ian Bond, said this would remove an important element of local democracy.
He said: "Area committees are about local accountability, they control decision making and mean councillors think about the voters they are serving. People turn to their local committees, and we need to keep them."
Labour proposed free bulky waste collection for everyone to help stop fly tipping, while the council leadership’s amendment limited it to pensioners, the disabled and the unemployed.
The coalition’s amendments will be financed by redistributing funds, adjusting borrowing costs and using reserves.
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