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Jon Cruddas column: Hexit would be a disaster for Havering

PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 July 2017

Jon Cruddas.

Jon Cruddas.

Archant

At the time of writing this, Havering Council had deferred the Hexit decision to a full council meeting on Wednesday.

Hexit is a road map to economic catastrophe for the residents of Havering.

It’s easy to wave around slogans like “taking back control” but the reality is more likely to resemble a car crash.

There are massive financial considerations if we pull out of Transport for London (TfL) – potentially losing tube zone recognition, the Freedom Pass for seniors which is ONLY available to residents of London boroughs, and access to an integrated bus, rail and tube network.

The Metropolitan Police is one of the finest forces in Britain, yet the Hexiteers would walk away from all that expertise, resource and organisation.

In February Sadiq Khan invested £27m of the Mayor’s budget into policing, providing two extra bobbies on the beat per ward; totalling 36 officers in Havering that would be unfunded and lost outside of London.

In contrast councils in Essex are having to increase council tax to support a £3.1m recruitment drive because the funding simply isn’t available.

Access to good quality fire services would also be put at risk. There are no more cuts planned for London Fire Brigade services, but the same cannot be said for services outside of London.

And let’s not forget the loss of London weighting for key staff which would have a devastating impact on recruitment and retention across the public services, in particular health care.

The Hexiteers claim they want to take control of housing and planning but we already know Havering Council wants to concrete over the borough with 30,000 properties - more than the Mayor’s plan.

Hexit is fuelled by understandable resentment and anger about austerity politics nationally, but it is little more than a dangerous political stunt. People need to consider the detail not the emotion.

*This was written before Havering Council rejected the Hexit motion.

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