Every year the one of the most eagerly awaited cabinet papers is that laying out the annual road resurfacing programme. Labour has halved this budget, this year it will spend Â£3.5 million, or about Â£10 per head of population. You can see the papers here, here and here.
Shockingly the Labour councillor in charge of this budget, Cllr Bassam Mahfouz, has awarded 27% of the entire Borough budget, some Â£938K, to his own ward of Northolt West End. In contrast Northfield, the ward I represent, will get one footpath done for Â£65K. Mahfouzâ€™s ward is one of 23 so you might expect it to get about 4% of the budget on average.
It looks like Labour is seriously favouring its own areas with this budget. Last year the five ward of Southall (22% of wards) got 52% of the budget. This year Northolt with 2 wards (9% of wards) got 51% of the budget. The wards that have been starved of new roads and pavements are the eight wards held by the opposition (central Ealing plus Southfields). Last year these wards only got 13% of the budget in spite of being just over one thirds of all wards. This year their share collapsed further to 7% – this is one fifth of the share they might expect if the spending was evenly distributed.