Thursday 3 February 2011

The Axeman's Apprentice

The Great Helmsman has been branching out: today Sir Robin Wales has an article on the Labour-supporting 'evidence-based' website Left Foot Forward where he tries to explain why cuts in Newham are all the government's fault and really nothing to do with him.

The Dear Leader quite rightly attacks the "manifest dishonesty ministers have employed in their presentation of how much they are cutting out of our budgets". He targets Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities Bob Neill for claiming that Newham faces an 8.8% cut in Revenue Spending Power’, saying that this "'masked the fact that this year we will receive £43.7 million less from central government, which is in fact a cut of almost 14% of the total".

But this isn't the whole story and Sir Robin should perhaps have thought twice before arguing that "politicians present figures in a way that works for them". What the article doesn't say is what is contained in the 'Comprehensive Spending Review impacts' document [PDF] that was presented to the council in November last year.

This shows that between 2008-2011, Newham council had already made £67 million in cuts to local services (failing to meet a target of £70 million) - and that whilst Newham faces a total of £75.5m of grant cuts over the next 4 years, it plans to go much further than the restrictions imposed by central government and make cuts totalling £116 million.

Let's be absolutely clear - the Great Helmsman is far from the avid opponent of cuts in the public sector that he is pretending to be to his Labour Party friends. Instead, he is cynically using the appalling decisions of the coalition government as a smokescreen, one designed to hide his own indifference towards actively defending vital local services.

"It’s naïve of me to expect some honesty about spending policy", says the Mayor. It would be naïve of the rest of us to expect the same from Newham council.


Having reported that the council had failed to provide spending data in the mandatory format, I'm pleased to see that finally a CSV file is now available. What I'm struggling to understand is how Newham managed to hand over £1,276,615 during the last year to recruitment consultants Badenoch & Clark, at a time the Mayor is apparently so concerned about the impact of ConDem cuts.


Anonymous said...


Isn't the money paid to Badenoch & Clark just the December 2010 payments?

Incidentally, Newham took on B & C in early 2005. In Sept 2004 Keith Nash joined the firm as HR Director... he's a West Ham fan. Coincidence?

Anonymous said...

Wrong Kevin, "Left Foot Forward" is not a Labour supporting site. It is a so-called "progressive" site which upholds many of your trendy liberal ideals ...

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