Chris is an indentikit HRA councillor. He’s elderly, retired and hates uneven pavements, potholes and nuisance parking. His political life has evolved and he’s now the cabinet member for finance.
On 2nd March, 2022 he condemned Damian White’s budget.1 Nervous, constantly wringing his hands and more-or-less incoherent, he realised he’d inherit Damian’s poisoned chalice. (It’s a quirk of local government that the incoming HRA Administration had to implement Damian’s budget.) But the 2023 budget will be his.
Chris said Damian’s budget was ‘catastrophic’ and could end in a section 114 notice.3 The world is a nastier place now. Britain’s economy is deteriorating at the speed of light. Energy prices have increased by 80%, so far, inflation is north of 10%, and there’s widespread strikes like the 1970s.4 There’ll be upward pressure on wages due to rampant inflation. This is bad news for Chris who’s absolutely pivotal in financial decision making.
How will LBH pay for their staff, offices, libraries, leisure facilities and fleet of vehicles? Mandatory services for the elderly and children will explode in unavoidable demand led expenditure. The 2023 Council budget will be torrid for Chris. He’ll be proposing a minimum 10% increase with Damian taunting him.
It’s a long way from moaning about street care, isn’t it?
1 Annotator Player (sonicfoundry.com) begins at one hour twenty. Damian White was Leader of the Council at that meeting.
2 HRA = Havering Residents Association
3 A section 114 notice is an incredibly significant action for a council to take for several reasons. Not only is it a very public declaration that its budget cannot be balanced, it also results in a suspension of additional spending.
4 Including, amazingly, barristers.