Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Labour councillor in Barking and Dagenham refuses to vote for cuts

The courageous stand of this councillor needs to be acknowledged and honoured. It is not easy to stand against the tide, even less so to stand against one's own party. There are few enough Labour councillors who have had the courage of their convictions. I wait with interest to see what the Green councillors in Brighton will vote for in February's budget.

Dear Sir,

When Barking and Dagenham residents voted for Margaret Hodge MP in the May 2010 election to defeat Nick Griffin and the fascist British National Party, they also elected 51 local councillors under the Labour Party flag.

But while Margaret Hodge is campaigning to open the new Barking Hospital and to keep King George Hospital and the Broadway Theatre open for local people, the council is chopping £20 million off the budget, sacking local workers and outsourcing municipal services. This is in effect exporting Barking and Dagenham jobs to other parts of the country.

The excuse for all this is that the council tax has been frozen for local people. So in practice, schoolkids, the unemployed, the elderly and the infirm get worse services for the same price.

The council is dominated by a leadership clique who have been carrying out the same bureaucratic routine for too long. This clique is much too fond of a quick fix to solve immediate problems. But they should be considering the welfare of the people that elected them in one of the most deprived boroughs in the country.

In this borough, we did not vote for the Conservative-Liberal democrat coalition and their banker friends. We voted for the Labour Party. So why cannot these councillors behave like socialists rather than Tories?

I first joined the Labour Party in 1962, but I cannot support the actions of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Labour Group, and I am therefore resigning the Labour Group whip.

George Barratt,

Councillor, Mayesbrook Ward


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