Tory-run Barnet Council is the home of ‘easy council’, the idea that council tax payers pay extra to get the standard of service they should already be getting by default, and has come up with a new money saving idea!
In a report published last month Barnet Council has decided that it will not be responsible for the update of the borough’s war memorials to include the names of service men and women who gave their lives since the memorial was built. Any proposed additions must be paid for by those who want the names added and there must be no additional maintenance costs.
It doesn’t stop there. Barnet Council is also insisting that the research to validate the names is done by the proponents. Although the council has a budget for its war memorials, it is obviously not planning to spend any of it on updating the memorials.
The report, which involved seven council officers (and therefore probably cost more than the proposed additions), was signed off by Barnet’s commercial director under delegated powers. The fact that Barnet’s Tory administration allowed this is symptomatic of their hands off approach to running the borough.
The same approach manage to lose them £27.4 million pounds in Icelandic banks when it was found that over 80% of the investments made had been contrary to Barnet Council’s own treasury management strategy. The cabinet resources committee then chaired by the former council leader Mike Freer, now Tory PPC for Finchley & Golders Green, totally failed to ask even the most basic questions about where Barnet Council’s money was invested.
The failure to honour our war dead therefore comes as little surprise. After all under Barnet’s model of local government they are simply an extra to be paid for by some one else.
Duncan Macdonald is a councillor in Barnet and blogs here.