At last nightâ€™s council meeting, see agenda here, the Ealing Labour group, en masse, made two really bad choices.
The first involved the closure of the Albert Dane Day Centre. I will go into the details of this in a further posting but the headline is that Labour voted against a Tory motion asking the cabinet to rethink its decision to consult on closing the centre. The LibDems voted with the Tories. The revenue budget for this service is Â£380K but the net saving achievable by closing this service after the costs of providing alternative services and redundancy is only Â£156K.
At the end of the council meeting there was not expected to be any discussion of a housekeeping paper on councillorsâ€™ allowances. The Tory group proposed a reduction of councillorsâ€™ allowances of 10% in recognition of the financial pressure that the council is facing. The Labour group voted against this whilst the LibDems supported the Tory motion. This proposal would have resulted in a saving of about Â£110K and would have covered 70% of the Albert Dane saving.
Labour made two very bad choices last night. Two recurring themes are emerging from Labour choices so far. One is “bash the customer” whether it is day care users or drivers. The second is “protect our own” whether it is allowances, staff perks or nice council offices. The hallmark of four years of Tory government in Ealing was “put the customer first”.