Green councillors will hold Labour to account
Astonishingly, another budget has passed us by in Reading, elections have come and gone, your Council Tax is rising again, cuts to services are running into the millions of pounds, and the council still hasn’t brought its own accounts under control.
Council finance failures “unusual” say auditors
It may be the only council in the country that hasn’t gone bust where Ernst & Young, the council’s external auditors said, “This is unusual. It’s not usual at all to get to the stage where the accounts get to a state where you can’t pin down most of the balance sheet…and also where we get to the stage where there are some quite significant control weaknesses across the council. There are very, very few organisations that would get to this position.”
And yet that is what Labour councillors did with our finances.
They’ve cared so little about our money that they’ve spent £1.6 million pounds on legal fees blocking equal pay claims, hundreds of thousands of pounds on wasted vanity schemes like a road by the River Thames, on the doomed ‘Readybike’ scheme, and well over a million pounds wasted on simply not being able to file its own accounts. What a fiasco.
Blank cheques and no ideas
That money, your money, could have been spent supporting people.
The latest budget was passed in March with the Conservatives supporting Labour (and only Green Councillors standing up for residents and voting against) and containing millions of pounds of poorly thought out cuts to our local services.
Greens now official opposition in Reading
Greens want to fight austerity not submit to it, fight waste not create it, and invest in people and the planet. As a group, we’re delighted that Thursday 5th May made a real difference and we increased our councillors, becoming the official opposition to Labour’s mismanagement and waste.
With the cost-of-living crisis hitting us hard, and bills going through the (poorly insulated) roof, now more than ever we need Labour councillors to be responsible for their spending, file their accounts, and spend on what matters – supporting people, not increasing their own allowances.
Greens are now there to represent you on every major committee on the Council, and we now have the first-ever Green Party chair of Reading Council’s Audit and Governance Committee. Councillor Josh Williams will take on that position for the first meeting of the committee in July.
As we move from strength to strength, we will keep up the argument for change. Reading deserves better.
Councillor Rob White,
Green Party Group Leader on Reading Borough Council