A Review of Havering’s Financial Decision-Making: 2019

2019 was a vintage year for decisions. They varied between the puerile and OMG.

(1) Damian’s* Death Tax Moment. Havering has the highest charges for cremation in London and he increased them by £5.
(2) Roger’s Despicable Moment. Multi-millionaire Roger Ramsey, finance chief, increased council tax for the disabled by 67%.
(3) Joshua’s Planning Moment. He spent £100,000 on lawyers’ fees. This proved the council owned land on the New Zealand Estate, Rainham but he then decided not to sell it after all.
(4) Robert’s Damascus Moment. He found out his secondary schools are below average.
(5) Osman’s Green Moment. Parking charges were escalated in car loving Havering. He wasn’t applauded.
(6) Viddy’s Johnson Moment. She planned to spend £900,000 renting 5 Met police officers. It didn’t happen but made a good headline.
(7) Jason’s Loyalty Moment. He doesn’t do much apart from agreeing with the others in cabinet. This makes him popular with Damian.

OMG!
(8) The Cabinet’s Trumpian** Moment. They purchased the Romford Marks and Spencer freehold for £13.25M. If they’d asked Debenhams’ managers, they’d know why the site was (a) available and (b) a bad deal. High street retail is in terminal decline with lots of CVAs*** and downward pressure on rents. M&S is a badly managed company and the chances of collecting headline rent through to 2027 are poor. Meanwhile they’re selling prime land elsewhere in the borough.

* For a list of cabinet members go to https://democracy.havering.gov.uk/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=153
** https://www.havering.gov.uk/news/article/628/havering_council_buys_mands_retail_unit
*** https://www.dwf.law/Legal-Insights/2019/March/High-Street-CVAs-Perspectives-from-around-the-world

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