Damian White, Leader, and Roger Ramsey, Finance, are extremists. They worship austerity. This year they’ve excelled themselves by attacking the bereaved, the disabled and the volunteer sector.
The Bereaved: Against officers’ coded advice Damian and Roger have forgotten the fable of the Golden Goose. Havering’s crematorium is the most expensive in Essex and London. Their cunning plan is to make it more expensive.1 Damian and Roger have created a Death Tax for Havering.
The Disabled: Against officers’ coded advice who point out that those with disabilities tend to be unemployed Damian and Roger’s plan is to reduce the council tax subsidy.2 The outcome will increase food bank dependency.
The Volunteer Sector: Council tax subsidies are given to the sector. This is to be reduced. Officers point out that this activity brings £200 million a year into Havering. Damian and Roger’s plan is to damage this sector and punish hundreds of unpaid volunteers. And redirect charitable donations to paying extra council tax instead of the activity where it should be going!3
Damian and Roger are ignoring the advice of Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, who suggested that 6% was a suitable increase in council tax to maintain services. Damian and Roger have opted for a lower figure instead because they ‘know’ better than the Chancellor.
The self-imposed saving equates to about £3 million. The increased charges for the bereaved is £75,000 if they don’t lose ‘business’ which is entirely likely. The Volunteer Sector saving is about £1.1 million. The disabled will be expected to pay an additional £1.15 a week.4 (This hasn’t been aggregated into a total figure in the council papers.)
Damian and Roger are destroying services because they’re extremists. Perhaps Harold Wood councillors Brian Eagling, Martin Goode and Darren Wise should have a quiet word?
1 See http://democracy.havering.gov.uk/documents/s27445/Appendix%20A%20Final.pdf especially pages 2, 160 and 173