After nine years of Conservative government, Havering has lost 40% of its funding. Havering is a victim of the ‘Age of Austerity’. The pitiless budget* earlier this year was caused by the Conservative government but Damian White is too loyal to say so. In that budget the most vulnerable had council tax increases of 67%, which only raised a million or so. Damian needed more. He turned to car parking charges. Unlike the poor, motorists are politically powerful and were enraged.
Damian doesn’t make evidence based decisions. He seems to use Tarot cards. As a sop to Havering’s motorists, he announced** there’d be six weekends when car parking charges wouldn’t apply. Those weekends are immediately prior to Christmas. This is a period when the council makes a fortune from its car parking charges and is crucial to the annual budget.
The twelve weekend days declared ‘free’ will ‘cost’ the council £500,000 for Romford*** alone. The cost for the whole borough is a million. What’s the strategy? Offering freebies immediately prior to Christmas is insanity. Damian’s freebies should be after Christmas when shops need a boost. Doesn’t he understand why there are January sales?
A post Christmas freebie would have been applauded. Damian’s election prospects in Dagenham and Rainham would’ve been enhanced.
** Romford Recorder 25th October 2019
*** This is a guess-estimate and is probably on the low side as there’s more intensity at Christmas.