Concerns have been raised after it was revealed that Haringey’s Labour-run Council plans to scrap public meetings across the borough.
In a report discussed by the Haringey’s Standards Committee on 12th May, members of the committee were asked to consider abolishing the Area Committees and Forums. The report suggested that new ward budgets could be established if the Labour Cabinet signs-off the proposal for the budgets in June.
Haringey’s Liberal Democrat councillors have raised concerns about the plans to abolish the public meetings which are held across the borough and gave residents the opportunity to discuss important issues and question council staff.
The Liberal Democrats argue that the meetings are very well attended in the Muswell Hill, Fortis Green, Highgate and Alexandra ward areas. The Lib Dems have also questioned why there appears to have been no consultation with residents and residents groups about scrapping the area forums, which could disappear as soon as this Thursday if the plans are approved by the Standards Committee and then ratified by the Full Council later this week.
The councillors have also expressed their dismay at the lack of details provided on the proposals for ward budgets and have warned that a similar scheme was abandoned several years ago as it proved very expensive to run.
Martin Newton, Lib Dem councillor for Fortis Green and Area Committee Chair, comments:
“We are very concerned at Labour’s cavalier approach to this. There doesn’t seem to have been any attempt to ask residents what they want and whether they feel the public meetings need improving. Instead Labour seem to be determined to plough ahead with their plans to remove one of the few opportunities residents have to question local councillors and council officers in public about issues of local concern.
“The Lib Dems also believe that more details need to be provided about the proposals for ward budgets. In the past there was a similar system which ended up costing a fortune to administer. I hope Labour are not going to repeat history!”