We are going to hear a lot about money over the next few days. Yesterday the Conservatives laid out the appalling financial legacy that Gordon Brown left for our country, see here, it really is worth a look. Last Thursday we had Danny Alexander’s announcement of cancelled and delayed capital projects. The cancelled projects were the bouncing cheques being returned to drawer that Labour had written in the run to the election. On Tuesday we will have what is expected to be a very painful budget.
It will also be a big numbers day on Tuesday locally when the council’s cabinet will be discussing the statement of accounts for last year and the budget process. The contrast between the terrible national legacy left by Labour and the sound finances left by the Tories locally could not be more stark.
It is worth looking at who is now in charge of the cash in Ealing. Cllr Yvonne Johnson is a charming school teacher who is no-one’s fool, and a longstanding, experienced councillor. She is cabinet member for finance and performance and a South Acton councillor. It appears that fellow South Acton councillor and newbie, Mik Sabiers, is her bag carrier, a role I had myself four years ago. Whilst Johnson chairs the pension fund panel, Sabiers is there too. Sabiers has also been made the chairman of the boring but exceedingly important audit committee. It might have been wiser for Labour to put someone a little less close to Cllr Johnson in this role, it should after all be driving the audit process ultimately. Isn’t there any need for distance between the executive and the audit process? Maybe someone with some experience of local government and/or finance?
You can follow Sabiers on Twitter here. Of the pension fund panel Sabiers says:
Now in council pension fund meeting, loysa figures to discuss
Mmm, yes Cllr Sabiers. Lots of figures. His Twitter biog describes him as:
Labour councillor for South Acton, journalist, socialist, sometime egoist, helper, friend and occasionally foe
His register of member’s interests entry lists him as being a member of three unions: Unite, GMB and NUJ. His day job is being a “journalist” working for Unite. I think internal comms person is a more usual description for people who write internal comms newsletters. On the side Sabiers does music reviews for the Morning Star. Yes, really. Oh dear.